Next week it’s International Women’s Day. A day just for us, celebrating everything that’s great about being a woman. In some countries it’s a national holiday, where men give gifts to their mothers, girlfriends, colleagues and sisters, etc. Unlucky for us, that’s not the case here in the UK. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t celebrate and be proud to be women. So on March 8th hug your mum, tell your gal pals you love then and high five your neighbour.
What’s not to celebrate? In the wise words of Beyonce ‘we’re strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business.’ And guess what? We can choose whether we do any part of this. It’s because of the struggles of loads of strong women before us that this is the case.
The word is empowering and we are lucky that we have the choice we deserve.
The first women’s day was in America in 1909 a year after women in New York marched for the right to vote, shorter working hours and better pay. Since then, the day has grown in popularity year on year and become a globally celebrated.
The equal pay act of 1970 states that men and women should be paid equally for doing the same job. The only way that we can ensure this though is through transparency of wages which many people, both men and women are uncomfortable with. Now more women can be seen in positions of power. The world’s most powerful women list is really quite impressive (check it out). Just over 100 years ago there were no female politicians at all. Even now though, there is a pay gap between men and women and there are way more men in politics and business.
Even though there is still inequality between the sexes we have come a long way from the times when a woman’s place was in the home and we didn’t have the right to vote. People are far more aware of the inequalities between the sexes which means that there is a far bigger strive for equality.
There are countries in the world where women aren’t half as lucky as us. They don’t have the same rights and opportunities. Because of the conditions and politics of a country, your path could be defined simply being born a girl.
The changes for women have been tremendous and are a sign that real change can and does happen. It shows us that more change can come as long as someone is fighting for it.
Feminism is a word that we sometimes associate with a time before ours. Right now, 2013 is a great time for women in Britain. Because of this it can be easy to forget that we, the fairer sex weren’t always so lucky. It’s not all about burning bras and hating men, it’s about standing up for what’s right. Women didn’t fully win the right to vote until 1928, imagine that, no one standing up for your rights.
We really owe it to the strong women before us that have fought for our rights, to celebrate this International Women’s Day. It isn’t enough to say: that was then and this is now.
Each year there is a different theme for the day by different countries and organisations. The theme by the United Nations for this year is “A Promise is a Promise” It’s focused on taking action on violence against women.
At the end of last year violence against women was all over the news with the brutal gang rape of Jyoti Singh. The incident was a massive wake up call for the people of India. Women and men took to the streets to protest. The high profile of the case acted as the last straw for the people in India who wanted to see an end to injustice in their country.
The coming together of Indian people is an example of the power that people can have to make a change. As a result of the protests the Indian government was prompted to approve new rape laws.
Violence against women is still very much a problem in this country and it is an issue that deserves to be talked about. It is a violation of human rights and our attitudes as a society need to be challenged.
Even though the theme is heavy, the focus of the day about coming together to celebrate being women. There are events going on all over the country to honour the day and if you can’t find anything in your town, why not organise one yourself.For a full list of events and more information check out: