March 8, 2015
In case you’ve missed the “go girl!” memes clogging up your Facebook feed, March 8th is International Women’s Day. As part of this every woman, man and corporate organisation seems to organise an event to celebrate and applaud women’s success. I’ve been to a few in the last week or so and I’m rather worried about a trend emerging. It turns out that the thing women are wondering about this IWD, is whether we even really need it.
The first ever IWD happened in New York in 1909. It was organised by the Socialist Party of America in remembrance of the strike organised by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers union the year before. In case we forget amidst all the celebrations, IWD is a product of working women who wanted change. We should still be campaigning for that change but instead I hear women explain that if we could just get a few more women on boards we’d be sorted. If we could teach girls the power of believing in themselves we’d have nothing to worry about. Both of these things are important but let’s stop kidding ourselves that the second we achieve them our work here is done.
Yes, we’ve come a long way in the last century but even in the most developed areas of the world, women still don’t have equal pay. We are still responsible for over 80% of domestic chores. We are still the large majority of victims of domestic and sexual violence. And that’s just in countries where women supposedly have equal rights. When did we start to forget about the “international” part of International Women’s Day?