Today is 8th March. And today is International Women’s Rights Day. And nothing else. And certainly not a day when the lipstick at low prices will excite women.
It is fashionable today to criticize Women’s Day. So-called non-male chauvinists say it should be every day, but of course, do nothing behind it. It almost seems like the issue of fighting for women’s rights is just a past story. That’s where lies the problem.
Celebrating a fundamental fight
Let’s do some history to understand why we have an International Women’s Day on March 8. It is an international day of “Struggles“. It has its origins in the early 19th century when a group of women workers went on strike to protest against their working conditions. They asked for an increase in salary, a reduction in working hours, and the right to vote. In 1910, a woman named Clara Zetkin, leader of the “women’s office” of the Social Democratic Party in Germany presented the idea of International Women’s Day. It was not until 1977, March 8th to be exact, that the UN formalized this as a day to the fight for women’s rights.
This is how Women’s Rights Day was born. And whether we think it is a good thing or a bad thing, the result is the same: If a women’s rights day has been established, it is because there was obviously some discrimination. And if we still “celebrate” this day, it is because, since 1977, the rights of women are still flouted at by an always misogynistic society.
March 8th is not a “girl” day!
No. March 8th is not the day that men will have to make an effort to be a gentleman. This is not the day when men will be forced to open the door for women, nor is it the day when they will have to feel obliged to go with outdated jokes ‘eh it’s your day, you can do the dishes tomorrow’. Firstly, it is not funny but also and above all because March 8 does not celebrate women. But the rights of women. Women will therefore not need to come together and sing “Who Run the World” but will need to feel that society is changing in their favor, for perfect equity. And this is, unfortunately, far from being the case.
Women’s Day cannot be considered a party because:
- Every 7 minutes a woman dies at the hands of her partner.
- At least one in three women in the world has suffered abuse or sexual assault throughout their lives.
- 70% of the population in poverty are women.
- Women receive 17% less salary for the same job as men.
- 75% of civilians killed in areas of military conflict are women and children.
- Women have a harder time asking for bank loans with which to establish businesses or work on their own.
- According to the World Economic Forum, at the current rate of progress, it will take 202 years to achieve economic equality.
Looking at these horrible statistics, I wonder, what to celebrate…
Why do we keep celebrating then?
Because there are obviously positive impulses regarding the situation of women. And we absolutely must highlight these few positive advances. Because being aware of progress is certainly one of the best ways to fight and believe that one day equity will be achieved.
Recently in Saudi Arabia women have acquired the right to drive. And even if we should not congratulate ourselves on it, because actually, it is their right, it is still a battle won. Also, for the first time, Icelandic women have the established law to have equal wages as men, in both the private and public sectors.
The level of advancement of a civilization is often gauged by the place which is granted to women, whether in terms of effective rights or their influence in society. To fight for women’s rights is to fight for human rights in general. Those who reject the idea of an International Women’s Day “because we should talk about it every day” are not fundamentally wrong, but they must recognize that we hardly ever talk about it elsewhere. This Women’s day, at least lets us raise awareness about domestic violence.
So, what do we do on March 8th?
We refuse! We refuse to witness the culture of rape. We refuse to hear that consent is still too vague a concept. We refuse to lock up women in heavy, persistent and ubiquitous misogyny. We refuse to enter a vicious circle of pointing the finger at all men. We refuse to allow women to consider men as their enemy.
Above all, we refuse to think of women as victims. We refuse to allow women themselves to position themselves as victims. We refuse that women, among themselves, belittle each other. And we refuse to downgrade men.
And we accept that men can be allies of women in this battle which still has long days ahead of it. We accept that equality by nature cannot be achieved but that we must aspire to perfect equity. We accept all women. We accept that there must be female solidarity and we agree to do everything in our power not to discredit the feminist discourse that has the legitimacy to last.
More so than anything else, on March 8th, we refuse to accept that this is the only day on which we fight for women’s rights.
Head on to share your experiences on our Facebook page through the hashtag #EveryWomen #EachforEqual on #InternationalWomensDay.