International Women’s Day

So today, 8th March, marks international Women’s Day. The UN state that,

It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

It all began in 1909, New York, where the Socialist Party of America set up a National Women’s Day. This was aided by Theresa Makiel, an American labour activist and suffragist. From then onwards different countries began to have their own Women’s Day around the same date, in response to WWI, the vote, pay equality and all the other grievances women have faced and are still facing over the years. In 1975 the UN celebrated IWD and in 1977 the UN General Assembly invited member states to proclaim 8th March as the UN Day for Women’s rights and world peace.

Today some countries have a holiday to commemorate the day, whilst others only give women the day as holiday. Others mark it in some way without it being a national holiday.

I’ve always felt uncomfortable about IWD. I’ve never been able to put my finger on why and as a woman myself I am proud that such a day exists to pay homage to all the amazing women that have fought, created, invented and stood proud. But at the same time why should this day even exist? We are half the world’s population shouldn’t everyday be for us?

I wonder whether there is an underlying implication that one day is for women, the other 364 days for men. And if not,why is there not an International Men’s Day?

So much has changed since 1909, even since 1975 and yet here we are with BBC staff protesting and chanting “equal pay for equal work”. Why is this still happening?

All I know is that we, as parents, both males and females need to teach our sons and daughters that this does not have to be the way. It starts at home. Respecting, understanding and loving each other no matter their gender, their age, their economic status, their religion, race or culture. If this happens then maybe one day there won’t be the need for International Women’s Day. Maybe everyday can just be for everyone.

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