World Women’s Day, to be honest, I wasn’t really aware of this day, even though it has become a public holiday in Berlin. Similar to Valentine’s Day, the meaning behind it isn’t entirely clear to me. If there are roses and chocolate on Valentine’s Day, what’s for World Women’s Day? The feeling of equality for one day?
we’ve come a long way – and are still not there yet
When women’s vote was finally introduced in Germany in 1918, it was some kind of a revolution. I still remember how I read a newspaper article in the history course in which conservatives feared that the right to vote would inevitably lead to “brutalization” and a loss of moral – that means: a woman with rights inevitably becomes a prostitute or vice versa: only if the man controls the woman decency will be ensured. Yes, it was a long way. In 1997, there was a vote in the German Bundestag whether a rape in marriage was punishable. I’m not only surprised by the fact that there must be a vote, but rather surprised that politicians like Friedrich Merz and Horst Seehofer voted with “no”. Equality, that was definitely not something that was given to us women and when I look at TV formats like “the Bachelor”, I wonder how far it still goes.
That leads me to the question, what exactly does emancipation and equal rights mean? Basically, it should be easy. Equal rights, but also equal duties for all. Unfortunately, I often have the feeling that for some women emancipation stops, when duties begin or sometimes their own horizon stops. Because, in fact, it seems to me that the biggest enemy of the emancipated woman is not necessarily a man, but often another woman. We pay our own cappuccino, talk about “empowered women, empower women”, but can’t manage to compliment other women or celebrate their success. Not to mention that every woman obviously knows only one definition of emancipation and that mostly is their own idea of how it should look like. A woman who stays at home because she focuses on being the mother? Old-fashioned! A career-driven woman who maybe doesn’t want to have children? Totally cold hearted. Didn’t we achieve equal rights when we don’t have to justify each other anymore? If we don’t have to explain that we cook in the evening, because we enjoy it? When we support each other in our ways of life and decisions, even if we might have made a different choice forourselves? Is not acceptance and respect a cornerstone of equal rights?
Let’s celebrate World Women’s Day or ignore it – but please don’t forget what emancipation means and that you always have to start with yourself for change.