Monday, 10 March 2014

Why International Women's Day?

I saw a couple of posts on my Facebook timeline asking why there is International Women's Day, and not "international equality day".

Firstly, there is the specific history of International Women's Day, which is about upholding women's rights to exist without fear of violence (rape and domestic violence inflicted on women is still higher than that inflicted on men) and to be paid equal wages for equal work (although there is equal pay legislation, women's work is still undervalued), and to have autonomy over our own bodies. The statistics are absolutely shocking.

Secondly, there is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, there's Transgender Day of Remembrance, LGBT History Month, Black History Month, and International Women's Day. Why? Because these are the groups that get marginalised, persecuted, and generally disregarded and written out of the histories — so we focus on them to redress the balance.

Thirdly, you can't lump all equalities issues into one mega-issue, because the origins and history and conditions of oppression are different. Obviously, yes, all these different forms of oppression intersect, but you still need to analyse them separately, and the people affected by them sometimes need to come together as a community to experience solidarity, celebrate our triumphs, and mourn our losses.

The people about whom all the histories are written don't need a special day, because they get all the attention on the other 364 days of the year.

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