Year of Youth 2018

A Novel Idea for International Women’s Day

Last edited 8th March 2016

A Novel Idea for International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day has brought the usual hand-wringing over gender pay-gaps and glass ceilings. On the other hand there are acknowledgements that "progress for women" is not just about their participation in paid work but social recognition of the unpaid and undervalued work put into raising children and other care.

Australian feminist Eva Cox says it is time to "acknowledge that women cannot "have it all" because men can't either, but ensure that both can take on fairly shared responsibilities for essential paid and unpaid roles." Melinda Gates is sort of onto this too, dedicating half of her and Bill’s annual letter to women’s unpaid work:

"If we can add 10 trillion dollars to the GDP by looking at the unpaid work that happens at home and really calling it what it is - work - to me it doesn't make any sense that we're sitting in 2016 and we’re not labelling it like this. "Why don’t we call it work and then why don't we recognise the women who are predominantly doing it?"

In the normal course of events Melinda, like most feminists, also has a lot to say about women's reproductive health. She and Bill are onto that in a big way. I just wish they would wave the flag for one of the really neglected issues in that field.

Today, if it is an average day, more than 100,000 women worldwide will have an abortion. There are said to be 40 to 50 million abortions a year. Many of these may be illegal, but in the United States and most Western countries women have a legal right to an abortion with very few restrictions; in the US this involves about one million women a year.

Let's leave aside for a moment the morality of these operations, about which most of us have made up our minds. The question posed insistently by a documentary film made in Canada and awaiting general distribution is this: how many women wanting to end a pregnancy know that abortion poses serious risks to their health?

How many have heard about the risks of breast cancer, future preterm births and miscarriage, and psychological disorders?

Very few, as the film, Hush*, demonstrates.

Visit this article to read more. * Hush (1hr 45mins) has been shown at a few film festivals but has not yet been released. Mighty Motion Pictures is trying to raise funds for this purpose.

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