Is The International Women's Day Really Necessary?

Happy 8th of March all women around the world. It's our day today! It's a time of the year where everything around us in nature is coming alive and so is the one day a year where we are encouraged to celebrate women's rights. 

I got up this morning and as usual while having my breakfast I'm reading the news. I normally read the news in English and Norwegian online newspapers and today was no different. 

I hadn't got very far into my sandwich before I read a headline that questioned the importance of the International Women's Day. And in a different publication another one. And this is happening every year. 

It's almost like everyone from young fresh writers in student media to experienced journalists are struggling with angling, how do we write about Women's Day this year? Most seem to choose the following solution: there is not much to write about, therefore it must be outdated and not much need for it any more. That is when they have fallen into the first trap. The belief that the thought of the importance of this day is something new and controversial. And that is where they are wrong! This is the same mistake I see happen every year! It is quite reasonable to assume that the the writers in various media ask the question whether the International Women's Day is outdated are reflected and people who likes to keep themselves up to date on the news around the world. Because of this, we can expect that they are following general news, have the ability to see the news in perspective and see relations between historical, geographical and sociocultural aspects. Despite this the majority of articles I see written about March 8th celebrations in media completely lack perspective. 

We are in 2016 and throughout my life I've felt a lot of everyday sexism. I've been groped on public transport by strangers, I've faced inequality in work places because I'm a woman and I've been sexually taken advantage of. 

To give you a couple of more detailed examples from my own life how I've experienced sexism  I was being called a tomboy as a little girl because I liked "boy friendly" subjects like history and geography, I also loved helping my dad repairing bicycles or other DIY. My dad was a hunter and taught me how to use a gun and there were few things I enjoyed more when I was growing up than going fishing. Some people commented that I was raised as a boy. Was I? No, my dad didn't see any limitations because of my gender. He saw my interest and eagerness to learn things, so he didn't care if it was traditionally a "boy thing". He also saw my interest for more "girly" things as dressing up in nice clothes and I loved crafts like sowing and making jewellery. He also encouraged me to do these things. Both my parents were very good at supporting everything I wanted to do regardless of what it was.  You might call this example pretty innocent, but it's still sexism. 
At the other end of the scale I experienced something when I as a young adult that was far worse. I was a victim of domestic violence. It was my first love and I was inexperienced and didn't see the warning lights. I was blinded by love and charm. It was first and foremost psychological violence, but words have a tendency of hurting you just as much as a fist. And certain episodes were life threatening as well, so it wasn't a walk in the park. I was lead to believe that I was to blame for it, cause I had to lie to get out of difficult situations , but looking back now, this was not my fault at all. It was all my boyfriends power over me. Because of my good upbringing I was strong and independent enough to get away before it was too late.  A lot of women aren't as strong or fortunate. They might be in a situation where they are completely depending on the man they live with. Not everyone is lucky to have financial help or the chance to get away. They might be so afraid and lead to believe that if they are going somewhere else he will come after them and kill them.  And these are a couple of things in each end of the scale why it is so important to fight for women's rights.  All women no matter where or in what kind of situation they are in should be able to take decisions for their own lives, decide over their own body and be given the same opportunities as men.

These few things are just a small reason why it is so important for newspapers and media in general to stop asking the question if the International Women's Day has become outdated, cause it's so obvious that it is more important than ever. Maybe even more so internationally with women all over the world struggling. I hope that when next March 8th comes around I will be able to read one article in media that shows how discriminatory mindset and attitudes governing political decisions leads to frequent violations of women's human rights - internationally. This requires that we understand the importance of international women's solidarity, both today and throughout the year.

Happy 8th of March all my sisters around the world!!!

Xxx Mookie

1 comment

  1. "Some people commented that I was raised as a boy. Was I? No, my dad didn't see any limitations because of my gender." THIS - My grandfather did the same after my father abandoned us children. He didn't see why I should be limited just because I was a girl. So glad I had a strong non sexist role model, I was able to deal with the challenges life threw at me.
    Women is the 1st world still get 75% of the pay that a man does (Here anyway) and we have to deal with everyday sexism from male colleagues or random strangers. Women's day is a start to have people think about all this. Yes we are privileged to live where we do and other women don't even have a voice in some countries. We need to keep demanding equality. A right to make decisions about our own lives.