It’s International Women’s Day — a day to celebrate the less celebrated half of humanity, and hear the female voice. Male World Leaders — political, social, and economic — of course, lost no time in trying to get their voices in on the situation as well.
Needless to say, the well-intentioned celebrations were a — well, you’ll see.
Here is a list of Male World Leaders and their responses to International Women’s Day.
Vladimir Putin’s Open Letter
In his grandiose prose, Putin penned an open to all women, congratulating them on the existence of International Women’s Day.
Here’s an exerpt.
“Dear women, you possess a mysterious power: you keep up with everything, juggle a myriad of tasks, and yet remain tender, unforgettable and full of charm. You bring goodness and beauty, hope and light into this world. We are proud of you and we love you.”
Even though this reads as an overly grandiose Hallmark card from a father to his children (“We are proud of you and we love you,” sounds like something parents say to their kids while dropping them off on their first day of kindergarten), the sentiment is what matters. Vladimir Putin is clearly proud of women — and if that pride is what signifies International Women’s Day for him, so be it!
Happy International Women’s Day to you too, Mr. Putin!
Narendra Modi’s Call For Women In Congress
India’s Prime Minister tried a nice gesture — instead of making International Women’s Day about him, he asked female lawmakers in Parliament to talk about Women’s Day, to be met with silence.
India’s Parliament is extremely male-centric — according to the AP, just 12 percent of India’s Parliament is female — and the number of women who could speak up on International Women’s Day was embarrassing.
There was so much time left over after female lawmakers had offered their wisdom on gender equality that Prime Minister Modi had to allow men speak about Women’s Day and women’s issues, just to fill up the time.
Yup. India’s Parliament didn’t have enough women voted into it to talk about International Women’s Day, and ended up having to let men talk about it.
Turkish International Women’s Day — Erdogan On Mother’s Day?
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan isn’t known for his feminist tendencies, and his International Women’s Day Statement echoed his previously stated beliefs that women cannot be equal to men (as reported by the Washington Post).
According to AFP, Erdogan told his women audience, “I know there will be some who will be annoyed, but for me a woman is above all a mother.”
So every woman is innately a mother? That’s what Erdogan is saying.
Only if you’re pregnant can you be a woman. So get out, all you childless people — the only ones being celebrated on International Women’s Day are mothers.
Perhaps Erdogan has confused International Women’s Day with Mother’s Day.
Politicizing Women In America
On the other hand, American male leaders — politicians and candidates alike – have politicized women’s issues. International Women’s Day isn’t just about celebrating women here, but also celebrating the politicization of their bodies.
Senator Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party tweeted out today.
The decision to have an abortion is a right of any woman, without interference from politicians. #InternationalWomensDay
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 8, 2016
That Senator Sanders’ International Women’s Day tweet is not about women, but a political issue hat involves their body shows the intensity of the political issue, and the focus of International Women’s Day this year.
Yes, the issue of women has become so politicized, that even celebrating them is — feminism is a taboo word, even if it simply entails gender equality. Another American presidential candidate — Donald Trump — has been uncharacteristically silent on the issue of Women’s Day — this just shows how careful everyone’s being around women and their celebration (from Putin’s Hallmark card to Turkey’s Erdogan’s Mother’s Day wishes).
It’s International Women’s Day, ladies! Let’s celebrate you today, minus all the politicization!
[Photo by John Berry/Getty Images]