Jasmine Hunt writes about why we should still be celebrating international women’s day.
To most people, International Women’s Day is just another day on the calendar where people will alter their Facebook profile pictures by slapping on a pre-made filter or fleetingly reposting an inspirational quote only for it to vanish when the day is over. But it should be so much more than that. It should be a day of active engagement in the celebration of women and the persistent fight for a gender-equal world. With the great strides feminism has made over the last couple of centuries, some people may ask why we still need a day dedicated solely to the celebration of women: let me tell you. International Women’s Day is a day of celebration and recognition. In our everyday patriarchal society women’s achievements all too often go unrecognised or are overshadowed. International Women’s Day facilitates the opportunity to laud women’s remarkable achievements with the time and dedication they deserve. It is also a day of recognition and realisation that the fight is not yet over; a day to reflect on how far we’ve come but equally to recognise how far we’ve got to go. The world may seem considerably better than it used to be, but this is for a small minority of women, predominantly upper or middle-class white women and girls. For LGBTQ+ women, women of ethnic minorities, homeless women, refugees, and many others, the fight is an ongoing struggle. Solidarity in supporting others seems to me to be the best way of marking International Women’s Day. I can’t stress enough how important it is for men to celebrate International Women’s Day too. Collective action is the only way people of all genders can be equal. We need everyone to understand the extent of gender discrimination, abuse, and inequality which still exists today. We need to recognise our privilege and listen to those less fortunate than ourselves.
International Women’s Day is, therefore, a day to celebrate your womanhood and the privilege you have which has been fought for over the years, whilst stretching out your hand to the less fortunate women in our society. This doesn’t necessarily mean giving money to charities who focus on women’s welfare, which as students is not always a viable option, or joining a march whilst burning your bra (although both are equally fantastic ways to celebrate). It means educating yourself about the struggles other women face and talking about it. It means actively unearthing the history our education system has denied us, looking at black history, trans history, disability history. It means looking for women in your field of study who contributed to your subject. It means talking to your flatmate who doesn’t understand why a sexual assault joke may be triggering and creating a space for a discussion where the topic of gender equality can be spoken about calmly and respectfully.
As a student, I find it difficult to show active appreciation and support for all the different campaigns I care about, due to financial difficulty and lack of time. However, there are ways of celebrating and marking International Women’s Day and supporting its goal to promote gender equality. I realise that many SRC emails get promptly deleted or ignored (I am included in the guilty party), so I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the events the SRC will be running from 9 – 13 March. So if you’re at a loss as to how to celebrate women more actively, you could head to Level 3 of the University Library where there will be a selection of female literary legends’ works with each day featuring a different female literary legend. If you’re looking to do your bit for the environment and feminism then head WeeG from 5 – 9pm as there will be a workshop discussing the issues surrounding period poverty, with discussion points and interactive elements, followed by a screening of the eco-feminist documentary Arise – Women Healing the Environment. Alternatively, you could attend the “Fight for the Night” march to say no to sexual assault and harassment, reclaim our streets and stand in solidarity with survivors. The march will begin at the University Main Gate at 6pm and will finish at George Square and is a perfect way to express your support. Or, if you hate to deviate from your norm, you could head to your regular Thursday Hive and request all your favourite girl-power songs and cover yourself in glitter and boogie the night away.
So, make sure this week, regardless of how you celebrate International Women’s Day you do celebrate. Be it merely changing your Facebook profile picture to one with an International Women’s Day filter or screaming along to Lizzo in Hive at the top of your lungs, celebrate it well.