It is international women’s day and we’re all tweeting, facebooking and updating BBM statuses with it. It’s like Christmas day for social networks and all forms of media in general. All we know is that just like World AIDS day, World Cancer day and Children’s day, some people somewhere have declared March 8 as a day to celebrate women for whatever reason. Well, as usual femmetotale decided to do the job for you by telling you what the day is all about and why we are celebrating women in the first place. After all femmetotale is all about celebrating the total woman.
International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900’s. It was a time when women’s oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Women marched to demand shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. An International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands. More than one million women and men attended rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation because of these efforts. Many battles have been won for women. Still, many feminists know only too well how difficult it will be to completely achieve equality for women especially in the traditional setting. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased visibility of women as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality.
While we celebrate women, it would be wonderful for us to remember that violence against women is evil and to resolve to stand up against it. You may not be the First lady of a country or a social crusader but even in your local setting you can start to speak up for women that are oppressed, to speak out for indigent women and to be the voice of the voiceless where you can. I often remember with shame, standing by and doing nothing when I was in a position to help a woman who was being oppressed. I was dressing up to go out one day, when I heard a woman shouting for help. I quickly ran to my window only to see a dark able-bodied man punch her in the stomach and I saw blood on her mouth. She fell to the ground screaming. My first instinct was anger and I couldn’t imagine what that woman could have done to deserve such a treatment from the man. I listened to the woman telling passersby that the man was a policeman who was their tenant. He came with his colleague to arrest her husband because they cut him off for refusing to pay his bills. She had only been speaking out against his actions when he started hitting her. She kept crying that it was only because she had no money to call a lawyer and she had nobody to help her. I wished I could have taken up the matter against him but I must admit that I was cowardly and I know the kind of society we live in. Then I resolved to join a women’s rights group like FIDA to help women in such situations.
Today, femmetotale is dedicating this page to all those women who have lived in oppression in silence, women whose rights are being trampled upon, women who have little or no rights and those who have lost hope, women whose silence has become so loud it is now deafening, women crying out against harsh traditions and cultures especially female genitals mutilation, women who speak out against harsh treatments, women leading nations and holding political offices, women leading efforts for peace and humanitarian activities, women leading in groundbreaking activities and breaking world records. We remember those women who stuck their necks out to fight for better conditions for the womenfolk.
We are lucky to live in the times where women can now enjoy some of the things our great grand mothers never had. We now have the right to vote and be voted for, to hold political offices and positions of authority in organizations, to speak in public gatherings and have access to better healthcare. Let us not relent in promoting social equality, justice and fairness, equal opportunities, maternal care, and elimination of violence against women as we celebrate women this day!
Happy International Women’s day!!!!
Keep standing out…