Today marks the global celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD). A day recognized since the early 1900’s, IWD is a collective effort to promote overall gender parity across all areas.
“Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom. It’s about liberation. It’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it.“ -Emma Watson
Women have come a long way from where they first started in the roles that they played in society. According to the official website, “no one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day.” It’s not based on one specific story of struggle or set with a certain promotional agenda in mind. IWD is a day to honour the journey women have transversed to get to where we are today; to celebrate unity and to continue to strive towards creating a better future for everyone.
In honour of the day, we wanted to know what women thought about their experiences in the workplace, so we took to Reddit to get some feedback. r/AskWomen had some interesting comments to make when asked, what misconceptions do men have about women in the workplace?
Ranging from concepts of ‘starting all the drama,’ to being in charge of buying the birthday cakes, women gave their thoughts on what they think people expect from them while at work. Separate from all the stats of inequality between pay scales, and lack of women in high level executive roles, it was interesting to see what other things women have been experiencing.
“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” -Michelle Obama
As a whole, we still have quite some ways to go in order to achieve true gender equality in all areas. However, we can also take a moment to appreciate how far we have come and to celebrate how far we will continue to go. Organizations, such as the United Nations, and people of interest, like Emma Watson, are all actively involved in working towards creating a more diverse and accepting future for everyone. All of us can play a part in this global movement and create the type of impact that you’d like to one day see replicated.
Wakanda IRL — What Could Go Wrong?
Apparently a lot.
We’re all coming out of Marvel’s latest release on a high. Yes, Black Panther was an amazing movie. Yes, the soundtrack was lit, and yes, it would be really cool if a place like Wakanda actually existed IRL!
Well it does…kind of.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) is lush with resources of cobalt. It’s not the vibranium that was used to make Captain America’s shield, but it’s important nonetheless. The sometimes forgotten metal plays essential roles in our day to day lives. Smartphones, laptops, and electric cars all run off of lithium-ion batteries, all of which use cobalt as a key component. From uses in cancer treatments to the construction of alloys for aircraft engines, we have taken this metal and integrated it into many everyday uses.
Which is great, a little different from Wakanda, where the stores of vibranium were a well kept secret from the rest of the world, despite all the amazing creations that it led to. However, Wakanda as a country was also better off then the DR Congo has ever been.
Colonization by the Europeans in Congo began in the late 15th and early 16th century. From the exploitation of their natural resources, to suffering years of civil unrest, the people of Congo have constantly suffered from times of turmoil. Genocide, slave trading and child labour, are but a a few of the horrors the country has been forced to face. Since 1998, five million people from the DR Congo have died from war or disease. In an article released by The Guardian, it was stated that children as young as the age of seven were being forced to mine for the cobalt that gets used in most household brands today.
As more awareness is created and the realities of the situation in the DR Congo are brought to the forefront, we can only hope that those with the power to make a difference step forward. Apple, Sony and Samsung, all companies that require sources of cobalt for their products, have made claims to take steps against any supplier that violates human rights.
The world was given a chance to get this right the first time. With bountiful resources, a beautiful country with even more beautiful people, the ‘real life’ Wakanda had started off with much opportunity and potential. It took an unstable government, vicious dictators, and unethical capitalists to bring the DR Congo to the state it has now become. Black Panther’s Wakanda paints a radical vision for all of us, of what it could have been.
The World Mourns the Loss of a Great Mind: Stephen Hawking
On March 14th, 2018, the world had to say goodbye to one of the greatest mind’s of our generation, Stephen Hawking.
“It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.” – S. Hawking
Professor Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with a rare case of motor neuron disease at the age of 21 and was only given two years to live. Despite the continual deterioration of his condition, he was able to live out his life to the age of 76 and continue to do the work that he so loved.
Author of renowned A Brief History of Time, and known for his work on relativity and black holes, Hawking was able to take his research to new levels despite being wheelchair bound and forced to use a voice synthesizer to communicate.
According to his official website,
“Professor Stephen Hawking ha[d] thirteen honorary degrees. He was awarded CBE (1982), Companion of Honour (1989) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009). He [was] the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, most notably the Fundamental Physics prize (2013), Copley Medal (2006) and the Wolf Foundation prize (1988). He [was] a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.”
All of his award and acclaims notwithstanding, Hawking was also a loving father to three children who gave the following statement following the passing of their father,
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.”
The world lost a great mind yesterday and as his close friends and family gather to mourn their loss, hopefully it gives some comfort to know, that he will not soon be forgotten.
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