The following paragraph is a summary of what International Women’s Day means to www.internationalwomensday.com:
‘International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first March 8 IWD gathering supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom’s Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women equality. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organisation specific. Make IWD your day! – everyday!’
Don’t get me wrong, I agree with all the above. I agree that women’s achievements should be celebrated and acknowledged. However, I believe this should be done every day, all the time- without thinking. I believe all genders should be actively celebrated and given the recognition they deserve; so therefore, not needing a whole day (?). Every Valentine’s Day you hear the same sentence in various forms crop up- ‘we should show people we love them every day and not just on one day of the year’. Which I see as fair enough, if you love someone you should show them as much as you can all year round – and not just make a special effort on one day. I believe that this can correspond to IWD too. If you believe strongly in a cause, want that cause to thrive and gain worldwide recognition, then this should be done every day, as often as possible. I think recognising all genders and their achievements should be seen as an everyday thing, rather than a ‘let’s have a special day for this and then semi-acknowledge it for the rest of the year thing’. I get that this is some people’s lives, but it should be everyone’s life. We should get to a point where we no longer need to have an IWD. Now it’s necessary, it’s necessary until the word ‘equality’ just becomes life. Until this happens, then of course IWD should be a thing. It should be more than a one-day event which trends on Twitter and then is forgotten about until next year. It could easily become a commemorative day, a day to remember what people once went through to fight for a better society for women- like Remembrance Day.
At the moment we need IWD, we need to spark up debates which may become buried a month after 8th March, we need to celebrate the past achievements of women who suffered and died for their cause. We need to inspire and remind current generations exactly what we’re fighting for. At the moment IWD is relevant and I want it to remain where it is. However, this is only until equality is met. Gender should be an irrelevant part of life, just like skin colour- we shouldn’t be judged or segregated by it. In that respect, we don’t have a ‘black’ day, we have a Black History Month where we celebrate the achievements of black people and those who came before us and fought for what they believe in. That’s what we need for women. We need a day, a week, a month (or forever?) to remember what once was, why it was so important and why something as simple as gender should never segregate us again.
There is the textbook argument that there isn’t an ‘International Men’s Day’ and surely this is showing how women could be superior to men as they have a day all to themselves and men don’t. Well, this might be because men haven’t had to go through the struggles women have, they have always been seen as naturally superior- the right to vote, the right to have higher pay, the right to not be aborted purely because of their gender…I could go on for quite a while…
So just to tie up any loose ends, I agree with IWD – for now at least. I believe that right now it is necessary and, in the future, when equality just becomes life, it will no longer be needed and should turn into a historical day, looking back at what feminism was and why and how we fought for it.