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16.34 on Monday 7 November. That is when the French women actually stop being paid for their work in 2016. Because of the gender pay gap, technically a woman will work 38.2 days more than a man for the same salary.
French women decided to say no this year. They stopped their works and walked outside at 16.34. Our work for this year has been done. We don’t get paid then we just stop working.
Even in 21st century, in a century when human beings could be able to explore the other planets and get into tiny bacteria, with all the developing in science and techniques, we still need to fight.
More than 10,000 women have shown their interest in participating in the movement on social media. The walkout has been supported all over Paris. The movement draws inspiration from the 1974 women’s strike in Iceland. Ninety percent Icelandic women suddenly stopped their work and housework. Just five years later, the world’s first female president was elected.
It is not a short and easy way to raise awareness for women’s rights in this world. If you are a man, you may never notice the inequality between the two genders for all your life. It always can be ignorable for the people who haven’t been treated unfairly. The core of woman power is to speak out loudly for ourselves.
But obviously France is not in the worst situation compared to the other countries in the Europe, and France does much better than the rest of the world.
I was born and lived there until 22 in China. It is a huge country with a large population. Things are always more complicated than people can imagine. Just a few years ago, when the so-called one child policy still existed in China, I know that in lots of cases women were forced to do abortion without considering of their health condition. The situation is kind of ridiculous in China. In Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing, office ladies are respected and hard-working. They have nearly no difference from European women, they are intelligent and well-educated. But on the other side, let alone the discrimination in work places, most of the women in less-developed areas even cannot ensure their basic human rights.
Even in nowadays, people still do illegal sex-selective abortions to make sure they would have boys instead of girls. That may sound ridiculous but it happens every single day in China. The society sometimes still regards male as the gender who has a higher social level. And when it comes to the feminism movements and activities, the situation could be even uglier. The famous feminism activities are all at risk of being arrested and the government is really doing that.
That is really hard for me to live in a society which would judge a woman because of her attitude towards marriage, children and family. The whole society would regard you as abnormal if you haven’t got married at a relative old age (which is around 25 years old). People speak highly of the women who sacrifice their career to look after their families. To be honest, that kind of value is one of the reasons why I decided to leave my country and live in Europe. And I always pay my attention to the feminism situation in China and post my own opinions on Chinese social media. Guess what happens next, every time my post just gets deleted without a notice. All the opinions disappear secretly just like those feminism activists in China.
There is no doubt that it is still a long way for women to fight for themselves. And what I am happy to see is that even there are no feminism organizations like the ones in US or Europe in China, but China has its own feminism blooming through the online world as well as in reality. They are struggling. I believe that only the strong ones struggle cause the weak ones would die directly. Even just one more woman gets the awareness of her own power and right, we are having more hope in the world.
What Paris women have done is extremely inspiring to all the women around the world. It is telling every single woman: Don't keep silent anymore.