Today is International Women's Day, an event the world has been celebrating for more than 100 years. Personally, I hope it's the last one.
Do we celebrate International Men's Day? No, we don't. Because, when it comes down to it, every day is International Men's Day. In pretty much every country across the globe, men still rule. Sure, there are some female leaders. But most of the powerhouses -- the ones making the laws -- are still men.
Although women make up more than half the population, they are routinely treated like second-class citizens all over the world. And before we get any grandiose ideas that it's any different in the United States, let's take a look at some of these facts:
- The Equal Rights Amendment still has not passed.
- Women earn less than 80 cents for every dollar a man earns in the same position.
- Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee refused to support the re-authorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act signed by President Clinton in 1994.
- Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia just signed a law requiring women seeking abortions to first undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound -- and pay for it themselves.
- The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the female contraceptive insurance coverage rule consisted of an all-male panel who refused to let any women speak or participate.
Equal rights in employment, healthcare, safety and respect should not be a political issue. It should be our right as American citizens. All men are created equal -- and so are all women. There is a war against women going on in this country, and it's time to fight back. Imagine Democrats, Republicans, Independents and Libertarians all coming together as women.
This is an election year, ladies (and men who care about us). We need to really study and question each of the candidates' positions on women's issues and make our voice heard through our vote. If you think the rights we've fought so hard for can't be overturned or taken away, think again. Who would have believed we'd be arguing about birth control in the United States in the year 2012? We can not be complacent.
The good news is we really can make a difference. Just watch this amazing documentary, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell," about the woman who took on the war lords of Liberia and miraculously brought peace to her country. If ONE woman can do that, imagine what we can do TOGETHER. And take a look at the video below about the woman behind the groundbreaking Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which President Obama signed into law in 2009. Again, just one woman made this happen, improving the future for our daughters and granddaughters.
We can help our sisters around the world change their fates. We can send money, donate our time, sign petitions. But, as we're told to do on every single flight, we have to take care of ourselves before we can save anyone else.
Let's celebrate International Women's Day by banding together to make the day unnecessary. As women, we don't want special treatment - just equal.
Follow Lois Alter Mark on Twitter: www.twitter.com/loisaltermark