Hashtags speak to recent progress

Between #MeToo and #TimesUp alone, the fight for gender equality has been so prominent that at this point if you are not aware of what is going on, you best catch up on a little reading. While many milestones have been achieved within the past year, the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report said that we are still over 200 years away from gender parity. That’s almost three lifetimes. As a result, a new hashtag, #PressforProgress, was born. It encourages everyone to stand together in order to create a more gender inclusive tomorrow.

March 8, 2018 saw a slew of females across the world fighting for their rights. In Puerta del Sol, Madrid, there were about 120 protests scheduled throughout the day. And my personal favorite thing about these protests was that in addition to the slogans shouted, women also banged pots and pans for what I thought had an added effect. In Karachi and Islamabad, Pakistan, activists pushed for an end of “honor killings”, along with more female representation in Pakistani lawmaking. Approximately 1,000 women are killed in “honor killings” each year, NPR reported in 2016.

For most of us in Lincoln, we spent International Women’s Day under our blankets and enjoying the snow day. Including me. And that’s okay. I have an immense amount of admiration and respect for the women in Spain clanging their pots and pans and demanding equality. I am moved by these Middle Eastern women, living in some of the most female-oppressive countries in the world, fighting for their basic right to a life. And I feel lucky that I live in a country, though I know it isn’t perfect by any means, where I have the ability to live my life the way I choose. Because not everyone is afforded that.

In a town that is so small that lies in the midst of a world that is so large, it is easy to feel like there is little the population of Lincoln High School can do. But in reality, progress can only occur by something changing.

Progress is defined as, “forward or onward movement toward a destination.” And if the destination is equality, then it starts with us. So far, it looks like we have a pretty good head start.