Last year on International Women’s Day (IWD), I wrote about the celebrations that take place in a lot of places to recognize women, to talk about women, and touched on the continued need to advocate for change.
However, this year, I can’t get away from the question as to who are the people that are excluded when we celebrate IWD? Questioning categories has been a big focus of my coursework this term, and as such I have spent a lot of time thinking about what people are hurt by the categories and labels we use so often in daily life: female/male, woman/man, cisgender/transgender, straight/gay, white/people of colour, employed/unemployed and many, many others. They are all too often falsely dichotomous and do away with the diversity that we talk about valuing so much. I’m not sure what the answer is – or whether this question is just me being hypercritical, as the women’s movement has become more inclusive to voices of many, many more women beyond the privileged few that were included in first wave feminism. That said, I’m sure there are a lot of people who feel less-than-represented in IWD celebrations, discussions and events.
As always, the internet is full of wisdom from other people. Here are just a few posts that I’ve found to be interesting food-for-thought:
- From the UK-based ‘The f-word’ blog, an article discussing trans women in Turkey: Turkey: IWD for those on the margins of society;
- A call for action to improve the working conditions of women who work in the floral industry, (also known as where did your flowers come from?) from the Ms. Magazine Blog;
- On high heels, runners, and Thinking Outside the (Shoe)Box
- A brief look at IWD in the past and the present from Feministing.
This year, just as much as last year, IWD is about celebrating women, drawing attention to inequity locally and globally, and being proud of women’s contributions in so many fields. Its about advocating for equal pay for equal work and reducing the disproportionate number of women living in poverty worldwide, for an end to intimate partner violence, sexual assault, for providing women and their partners choices when it comes to having or not having children, caring for children, ensuring equitable access to health care and education worldwide, and many others.
Happy International Women’s Day to all, and Happy Anniversary to IWD!