Every day is a Women’s Day!
This year, like every year so far, the 8th of March is celebrated as International Women's Day. From my early school days, what I remember about this holiday is buying flowers and gifts to our female teachers, our mothers, or sometimes even to our close neighbors. Like many international holidays of this kind, the 8th of March has been commercialized. It mainly contributes to the capitalistic way of life where profit plays a major role, and sadly very often we forget the true essence of this holiday and the fundamental values it represents.
Throughout history, women have fought for their rights, but unfortunately, even today they are not equal to men. Some are less, some more, depending on in which country and system they live in. I am talking about women's rights in the 21st century, one thing that needs to be discussed and talked about further as women today are the object of the biggest crimes and human rights violations. From domestic violence to femicide, which is poorly researched in our society, women are more than often attacked in public, and they are subject to stereotypes and prejudices. Therefore, every day should be a Women's Day. And every day IS a Woman's Day. We all need to fight for basic human rights, which advocate that no one should be discriminated against on any grounds and strive for equality, especially in social and political relations between women and men.
So let's remember some of the key activities which have contributed to the fact that the 8th of March is celebrated as Women's Day. Surely, they are not simple acts of gifting flowers and other presents.
1908: "Women's oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay, and voting rights."
1909: "In accordance to a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman's Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on February 28."
1910: "A woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women's clubs - and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament - welcomed Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval, and thus International Women's Day was the result."
1917: "Russian women began a strike for" bread and peace "in response to the death of over 2 million Russian soldiers in World War 1. Opposed by political leaders, the women continued to strike until four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote."
... many more years in between, and then we come to 2021 and beyond:
"The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation may feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them are worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so every year the world inspires women and celebrates their achievements."
As stated earlier, women have achieved a lot throughout history and have fiercely fought for their day and their rights. But still much remains to be done. We still need brave women, and men, who support women to become part of the public sphere. Society, especially one in Bosnia and Herzegovina, must value women in the public spheres by encouraging them and providing them a safe space to act and grow without fear that their rights will be violated.
Here are some of the women who have fought for human rights and whose names will remain throughout history as inspiration:
Amelia Earhart, 1920s
Eleanor Roosevelt, 1930s
Grace Hopper, 1930s
Frida Kahlo, 1930s
Hedy Lamarr, 1940s
Naomi Parker, 1940s
Anne Frank, 1940s
Lucille Ball, the 1950s
Rosa Parks, the 1950s
Ella Fitzgerald, 1950s
Althea Gibson, 1950s
Margaret Sanger, 1960s
Rita Moreno, 1960s, and many many more.
Their biographies and activities throughout history can be read here.
With just one click and an hour of reading, you can acknowledge why International Woman's day matters more than gifts. The flowers are beautiful, presents are wonderful, but the fight for human and women's rights is much more than just marking March 8 with materialistic things.
As the United Nations itself states: "Women of the world want and deserve an equal future free from stigma, stereotypes, and violence; a future that's sustainable, peaceful, with equal rights and opportunities for all. To get us there, the world needs women at every table where decisions are made."
Every day IS a Woman's Day!
Lejla Mušanović, 26
Helpful source: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Activity/15586/The-history-of-IWD