Bust a Myth for International Women’s Day

March 08, 2011

I enjoy the show MythBusters on the Discovery Channel and watch it with my children. It’s interesting to see how many of the legends that we assume to be true or that have been passed down through the years either have no basis in fact or are amazingly spot-on. It also satisfies the curiosity of “I wonder what would happen if … ?” and the excitement of seeing things blown up, run over, or tested to the limits that we tried as children (OK, at least I did). It’s science, adventure, and reality TV all wrapped into an actual learning opportunity (but don’t tell my kids that). Even President Barack Obama appeared on the show (but there were no fun explosions during his visit).

So of course I think it’s only fitting that for the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, AAUW is a part of CARE’s effort to bust some ongoing myths about women. Perhaps there will be “explosions” of joy and excitement when women gather together to celebrate the accomplishments, skills, capacities, and vitality of women around the world. International Women’s Day is when the world honors and recognizes the successes of women, past and present. Even a decade ago it passed with little notice, but these days there’s so much to choose from, it’s amazing. There is such an increasing wave of promise and commitment to end the global inequities against women that we just witnessed at the United Nations — and debunking so many of the same, tired old myths is long overdue.

Here’s a sample of the myths that CARE identified that continue to degrade and demean women, even in 2011:

Girls can’t do math or science.
A woman’s place is in the home.
Women can’t be trusted with money.
She asked for it.

Reading the stories and watching the video of the powerful myth busters humbled me. Whether they were trailblazers of years past or heroes of today, they deserve recognition on this special day because they create a gateway for so many others.

I sat on the Metro this morning and looked at the women around me — all different in appearance and background but more alike than we recognize. We face so many common barriers — just because we are women. And more and more, the staggering cost to our world of excluding women in the economy, business, technology, education, and politics is painfully apparent. Women need to demand and be given dignity and human rights because the consequences of leaving us behind will change the equation for the world in ways that will challenge us all.

We don’t need a TV show to bust these myths about women. We’re doing a pretty good job ourselves. Besides, TV shows perpetuate many of the myths that keep us from moving forward.

What are you doing to honor the power, promise, and rights of women on International Women’s Day and every day? Who are your myth busters? Are you one?

Go ahead, bust a myth for International Women’s Day.

Gloria L. Blackwell By:   |   March 08, 2011

1 Comment

  1. Dear Gloria I attend last Friday’s video conference at the University of Malta. I would have liked to ask you a question and would be grateful if you could please reply..In the US..what is the % of women working in the Education sector. Locally, it is the highest for women (16%) – and I suspect women are channeled into this sector not just for vocational reasons only but also because in the absence of afterschool facilities, it would suit many women well to take care of the children during holidays and after noons… Not even our University has a reliable afterschool service as it closes down during holidays etc…



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