13 patriarchy-busting reasons to feel proud AND optimistic on International Women's Day.

The good, the great, and the downright empowering.

March 8 is International Women's Day: one day in 365 where we celebrate the achievements and aspirations of the gender that makes up half of the human population of our planet.

The patriarchy is hilarious! Image via iStock.


We also get a hashtag.

This year, when it seems like every second headline is filled with bad news for women, it is easy to dismiss International Women's Day as meaningless. After all, we've been celebrating a form of it since at least 1909, and we're still justifying why women should be allowed to bust ghosts. If we can't even get that sorted, how far have we come?


The power of Patty compelled me to share this. Image via "Ghostbusters."

Women have come really far. No, seriously. Really, super far.

Any way you look at it — in education, health, politics, and culture — women are making big leaps forward. Here's how:

More women are getting an education than ever before.

1. U.S. women are serious about higher learning.

Image via iStock. Fact source: Census.

2. STEM isn't a boy's club anymore.

STEM (short for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) used to be the most male-dominated career field. Not anymore. Image va iStock. Fact source: Census.

3. Call it the Malala effect: Pakistani schoolgirls are getting easier access to education.

Image via iStock.

Female politicians aren't a rarity any more.

4. After decades of activism, political progress is happening in India.

Image via iStock.

5. Canada has a new government that's serious about gender parity.

Image via iStock.

6. Female politicians are breaking the highest glass ceilings all over the world.

Fact source: Pew Research Center.

We've made huge leaps forward in female health care and in protecting newborn babies.

7. Having beautiful, healthy babies is safer than ever before.


Image via iStock. Fact source: World Health Organization.

8. Birth control is here for women who want it.

Image via iStock. Fact source: United Nations.

Female entertainers are making more and doing more.

9. A once-in-a-generation female voice is breaking 15-year-old sales records.

Adele sold 8.08 million albums in just six weeks in 2015. Fact source: Billboard.

10. Local libraries are stocked with female authors.

Female authors also wrote three of 2015's top five best-selling nonfiction books. Image via Lukas.Bo/Flickr. Fact source: Publishers Weekly.

Women are fighting big battles — and winning them.

11. Laggard governments are taking action on violence against women.

Image via Joachim Huber/Flickr. Fact source: UNFPA.

12. New laws will let little girls stay kids as long as they want.

Image via Erik Torner/Flickr. Fact source: The Guardian.

And women in America are turning up when it really matters.

13. American women are serious about democracy.

Image via iStock. Fact source: Census.

All of these figures are encouraging, but they're definitely not a sign that women need to step back and take a break.

Because, when it comes down to it, who run the world?


I know, SPOILER ALERT, but it's still generally dudes, and they're still generally white. Image via "Lip Sync Battle."

Even with great leaps forward, there are so, so many more ways women are still unequal: We still make, on average, 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. We are less likely to become CEOs. We are, in some U.S. states, rapidly seeing male politicians restrict our ability to make our own reproductive health choices. We need politicians and law enforcement to get serious about justice for victims of violence and rape, and we need to be ready to stand in our power and replace them if they won't stand up for us.

And, let's be really real — white feminists like me are only just starting to recognize the ways fighting for feminist equality can marginalize women of color, and we're not doing nearly enough to address it. Women deserve more than a day, a week, or even a month of recognition for us to collectively get closer to where we should rightfully be.

But all that said, I'm still celebrating International Women's Day today. Because the way I see it, making a big-ass deal out of the one day we do get is just another way to remind everyone that we deserve so much more.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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