Today is International Women’s Day. Did you know it was the centennial anniversary of IWD? Yeah, I didn’t. I read a lot of news blogs and websites, and let’s just say here in the U.S. there has been sparse publicity or discussion about this yearly event, surprising because it is the 100 year anniversary.

In other countries, especially Europe, International Women’s Day is much more celebrated and talked about. Here in the U.S., it is pretty much a non-issue.

On the IWD website, I watched a video about how women in Russia receive flowers and “more compliments than even on their birthdays” each March 8th. Yet I couldn’t help thinking, who cares about flowers and compliments, when women and girls still receive less pay for equal work, are at grossly disproportionate risk for sexual and physical violence, and have higher poverty rates. And while we, in the U.S., talk endlessly about the reproductive rights of women around the world, here at home women are also facing challenges to our reproductive rights.

So, please, men – if you really want to support women on International Women’s Day, skip the flowers (especially since the majority of the cut-flowers in the U.S. come from the South American floriculture industry) and compliments.

Instead, be our ally. Take a stand for equal pay for equal work. Intervene when men make jokes about domestic and sexual violence against women (yes, that includes not giving Charlie Sheen a pass or purchasing shirts like this). Tell our Congresspersons that you support women’s reproductive rights.

Don’t put us on a pedestal.

Rather, stand with us in solidarity.

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