By Christalee Froese

I never really saw the need to celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8, 2017).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for women’s rights and would consider myself a fierce defender of rights for everyone, women and girls included. But I just figured that by walking the walk, rather than talking the talk, I would be setting an example.

By this I mean, if I was that woman who made choices that suited her, whether it be working or staying home, I would be exemplifying what it meant to be a feminist. Also, by pursuing a career that has sometimes been dominated by men (journalism), I knew that I would be setting a good example for my kids. And finally, by going 50-50 with my husband on all parenting and household duties, I knew I would be meeting my own needs in terms of not cleaning our toilets alone!

But in the wake of Donald Trump, I feel the need to talk the talk. Things have been happening post-USA election that make me cringe. For example the sexist billboard put up in North Carolina that reads, “Real men provide, real women appreciate it.”
And how about Donald Trump himself who has been caught on video, or microphone, calling women every single one of these names: fat, pig, dog, slob, disgusting animal.

In a 1994 interview with ABC News, Trump said this (out loud and on camera):
“I have days where, if I come home—and I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist, but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof.”


I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

The fact is—any leader (whatever colour, shape, size or gender) should be fighting for equality for all of his/her citizens. It’s not a political issue and it’s not a platform issue, it’s a human-being issue.

One of my favourite signs from the world-wide Women’s March in January was held by a grandma and it read, ‘I can’t believe we’re still protesting this
s_ _ t.’

I have to agree.

I can’t believe that in 2017, as I watch my daughter playing unawares on her iPad, that I have to write a column defending women’s rights.

My message is simple. While I could quote stats about the inequality of pay, the disparity of job opportunities and the increased incidence of all forms of abuse against women, I won’t. Instead I’ll simply say, ‘treat us like you would want to be treated.’
It’s back to the age-old mantra that is tried and true, ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you!’

Would YOU want to have to look a certain way to be respected? I say, ‘NO!’ I don’t want how I look to affect me at all. I just want to be respected and appreciated for who I am (with lipstick, or without).

Would YOU want to be paid a lower wage for the same job? I say, ‘HECK NO!’ I want to be paid exactly the same as anyone else in the same job as me.

Would YOU want to be required to be the sole caregiver of your kids or the sole caretaker of your house if there were others around to help? I say, ‘HECK NO!’ I’ll clean the toilet this week if you’ll do it next week!

I never really saw the need to celebrate International Women’s Day, but this year I do.

Here’s to women everywhere and to the choices they should all have to enable them to be anything (and everything) they want to be!

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