Last Sunday was Mother’s Day in North America. Synonymous with gestures of thought and affection through out the day, mothers were celebrated and honored in the sweetest of terms. I cried whilst watching CNN’s Fareed Zakaria’s tribute of his mother. I also cried when I watched how White House Staff communicated their affection and love to their mothers.
It was a very sentimental day. The most distinguished thing my daughter did for me was to share a playlist of my favorite songs. Song after song brought me joy. Absolute elation.
Mother’s Day is an annual celebration of our mothers. Patterned after a ceremony in the US in 1907, other than personal birthday celebrations, Mother’s Day is a significant day in the calendar for most women.
What Some Mothers Want
Somehow, I wish Mother’s Day was less about the sentiments but more about what we need as women to function. Here in Edmonton, I speak to woman after woman who work meaningless jobs despite their qualifications. I speak to women who desire career advancement but find themselves stuck unable to make progress.
I speak to women who struggle with huge childcare bills, I speak to women when they return to work after a maternity leave. Most of these women return to positions lesser than they were before they started their maternity leave. I speak to women who cannot find the kind of jobs they want. I speak to women who are existing rather than living. For these women, their posts on Instagram and Facebook never quite tell the real tale.
I wish Mother’s Day was about highlighting some of the social evils that targets women.
Mother’s Day took place some days ago and the world has moved on. But, that woman who struggles with childcare is still there. The single mother who stayed with her children is still there carrying her burdens.
Is there a way we can celebrate our mothers as well as highlight some of our pertinent challenges as well? It is the day after but the world has not changed for women. I know as mothers, we would appreciate a bit more money on the hour for our labor, perhaps some time off to rest, perhaps a break for the burdens and the toils of daily surviving.
What Mothers Really Want?
What we really want, Mother’s Day cannot give us. But maybe Mother’s Day gives us a little love – the flowers and chocolate mean a lot. But, we want more.
Here are some issues I wish we could highlight a bit more
- Every six days. That’s how often a woman is killed by her intimate partner.2.4 million. That’s the number of women and girls living on low income.75 cents. It’s the average earned by full-time working women for every dollar men make.14 percent. That’s the number of grade 10 girls who say they are self-confident. These are powerful indications of the distance we have yet to climb to achieve true and lasting gender equality in Canada.
- 30% of single mothers are raising their children in poverty34% of First Nations women and girls live in poverty21% of visible minority women and girls live in poverty23% of women with disabilities live in poverty16% of senior women live in poverty. Source: Statistics Canada.
- Sexual Assault and Abuse:
According to a 2008 survey, 27% of girls in the 9th-11th grade reported having been pressured into doing something sexual that they did not want to do. Almost 30% of Canadian girls reported having been grabbed or pinched in a sexual way. It is no longer news that girls consistently reported being victims of harassment at higher rates than boys.
Indigenous women and girls are disproportionately affected. For example, studies show that women are more likely to experience sexual assault on reserve compared to non-reserve areas.
I rest my case
There are issues concerning disability, reproductive rights, income gaps between sexes that we are not mentioning here.
I kind of like the breakfast in bed and the extra kindness my daughter shows me. I kind of wish I could eat my cake and have it.
It is not a lie. This year’s Mother’s Day was last Sunday, but it is long forgotten. So, I asked you this question, “Is Mother’s Day Overrated?”
This post was written by Tee Adeyemo and it first appeared on LCCMedia.
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