Today is International Women’s Day; “a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.”
First celebrated in 1911, IWD is as necessary now as it was then. In the early 20th century, women in many countries worldwide lacked the right to vote, the right to an equal education, equal employment rights, and often very basic reproductive rights and bodily autonomy – all of these are things we would now consider to be basic human and civic rights for anyone, although many of these rights are still under threat for women.
But despite the fact that many of these women the world over are still disadvantaged, discriminated against and experience gender-based/sexual violence, much has been achieved since the first IWD, and much is still being achieved by the women’s movement and by individual women alike. And that is indeed something to celebrate, as are the many remarkable and inspirational women who have left (or who are leaving) their mark on the world.
However, there is still much that can be and needs to be achieved by and for self-identified women everywhere. Commenting on a Facebook post of mine on the subject of IWD earlier, a sympathetic male friend wryly observed: “Yeah, but tomorrow it’s international men’s day again for the rest of the year!”