I’ve heard this question come up and debated this year, which has made me think: Could it be that so many women feel they have won the rights to education, employment, birth control, career progression, etc and feel there’s fewer battles left to fight? If so, do we still need to mark this global awareness day?
Of course we do.
Part of International Women’s Day is about celebrating ‘the economic, political and social achievements’ of women (which is where gender equality criticisms come in: ‘what about men!’ in which case they can be directed to International Men’s Day) and then acknowledging the paths paved for us by women years before us, but it’s not just about celebrating success. It’s about highlighting injustices.
It’s about recognising the struggles of women still fighting because their battles have yet to be won. Because there are so many women who still need our support.
Natasha Walter, one of my favourite feminist writers and campaigners, said: ‘International Women’s Day is a chance for us to connect to women’s struggles in the UK and across the world‘. So true. Natasha founded Women for Refugee Women an amazing charity which campaigns to stop the unjust detention of women seeking asylum in the UK.
For every woman among us enjoying her (seemingly) equal life there are countless others living under real threat of violence, oppression, injustice and discrimination. Rape is still a weapon of war in so many countries. Even in our peaceful UK, two women a week are killed by a violent partner and one in four will experience violence from a male. I blogged about this last year, see here.
As long as there are horrific statistics like that, we will need to observe International Women’s Day and stand by their side.
Actress Thandie Newton has been blogging about #SayHerName campaign by the African American Policy Forum which is a reminder of all the women who have died under US police enforcement and promotes women’s rights in the context of racism.
Back in the UK, a massive 54% of domestic violence services have been forced to close since 2010. Save Doncaster Women’s Aid is a campaign to stop the closure of South Yorkshire’s last remaining support service in the district for sufferers (women, children and men) of domestic violence. Watch their video here, I think it’s great.
Their ‘Women’s Lives Matter’ campaign is still on so please sign the petition and pass it on!