So yesterday I tried to write a blog post. About International Women’s Day. I had some research lined up, some back ground and history (did you know that IWD has been a thing since 1909? And that in Russia – during the Soviet years – it became a holiday where you did not have to go to work? It’s true! The day off was granted in 1965) and yet when it came time to write, I just couldn’t.
In part, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to say. And if there’s one thing I know about writing, is that when are taking on a large topic, you need to know what the point is of your message otherwise your piece will be rambling and boring.
My “writers block”, if you will, was certainly not from lack of interest in the subject. I am one of the few people I know who loudly and proudly calls herself a feminist (although pretty much everyone around me supports the agenda, aims and goals of feminism) so I certainly have a view point.
So… what was the issue then?
Well, to be honest, I think the topic really just made me so sad. I was focussing on what the world was like in 1909, what the life of women was like then, and what the intention of IWD was at that time and drawing comparisons to today. That really, that was depressing.
The initial intent of IWD was to raise the profile of women as complete people. They were seeking the right to vote, and for gender equality. Really? We’ve been fighting for gender equality for more than 100 years and STILL don’t have it? I mean, okay. I’ll grant you that we are no longer in the eyes of the law seen as property. And it’s not frowned upon when we want to work outside the home, and pay someone else to look after the kids, clean the house, and so on. So we’re certainly further ahead than we were. I think you see my point though.
And you know, the suffrage movement was huge, and daring, passionate women died fighting for the right to vote. And I think about how so few of us can actually be bothered to get to the polling booths on election day and I am so frustrated. Did you know that it wasn’t until 1940 that all women in Canada earned the right to vote (Quebec was the last province)? It’s true! That’s only 70 years ago. There are women still alive who remember maybe not being barred from voting, but certainly remember winning the right to do so.
Around the world IWD is celebrate with parades. With ceremonies, with memories. People talk about accomplishments and achievements showcasing the power of women in the world today. Feminists are not man-haters. They are leaders of countries. They are social activists bringing relief to children and women in danger here from poverty, abuse and other factors, as well as around the world where these groups are targeted and abused systematically. They are people who are concerned about what’s happening – through the ever-increasingly powerful media machine – to our children and young adults.
They are people like me. And I bet, they are people like you.
You know what happened in my neighbourhood for IWD yesterday? Nothing. Or at least, that’s what I assume since nothing was advertised in a public place. I knew when the bridal show was happening here in town though. *fumes*
All over facebook I saw people wishing others “Happy International Women’s Day”. No mention of the battles we’ve fought and won, or the struggles we’re still facing today (Rush Limbaugh to give name to one high-profile issues today). Yes, we should celebrate who we are. Yes, we should take a moment to honour our sisters for surviving and thriving. We should also remember what this day is meant to mark, and honour that as well.