The first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on February 28, 1909. The very first International Women’s Day (IWD), lead by Clara Zetkin was launched on March 19, 1911.
Since 1911, the tenor and character of IWD has changed from being a reminder about the negatives and a celebration of the positives. Women have gained significant ground in many areas of what are traditionally, male dominated jobs. Young women have equal accesses to post-secondary education to pursue studies in the fields of science, technology or politics. Women can work and have a family. We now have real choices. However, we still have a long way to go before we can celebrate full equality.
Today, a woman is free to pursue higher education, climb the corporate ladder to the corner office – as long as she knows her duty to society. She must think about getting married, settling down and raising a family. When she gives birth, despite thousands of dollars in tuition and years spent on post-secondary studies, she should devote the rest of her life to mothering her children – from home. Her partner should be trusted to pursue the path of accomplishment for them both.
Women who dare to venture into male dominated professions often encounter the debilitation of ‘double-standardism’. A woman with purpose and confidence is considered too aggressive; therefore, unfeminine, and often labelled with degrading monikers . On the other hand, an aggressive man is admired as a man of action and a decision-maker. Female political candidates, for instance, are often criticized, by both men and women, for not ‘showing more emotion’. Meaning, I suppose, she should shed a few tears while trying to prove that she’s intelligent and dependable enough to hold office. However, male candidates need only the support of their intelligent and dependable wives along on the campaign trail to prove they are capable of managing in the same position? Women are often denied positions they are qualified for; and, if they do get a promotion, their salaries are often less than that of men doing the same job. The discrimination experience by women in the workforce can be damaging to her psyche.
Women are constantly being challenged to prove ourselves. The proverbial glass ceiling still hovers over vast areas of industry. The insinuation that because she is female, a woman is in some way inferior to the male, is a violation on her person. The Women’s Liberation movement ushered in an era that saw changes to laws governing sexual harassment and wage discrimination. But there lingers still, the subtle nuances of the old ideologies which existed prior to the1900s; before sister suffragettes lifted their united voice and marched for change
So, while we acknowledge that there has been great progress in the struggle for women’s equality, we must surely too, recognize that greater strides must be taken before women can truly enjoy the same privileges that our male counterparts take for granted.
Responsible World Citizens must stand up with one voice and declare that, “injustice to one woman is injustice to all humanity. If we do not, the result on society will be detrimental. Conversely, if we have a world where women enjoy the same liberties men enjoy; society would benefit greatly. Until then, we must continue to march. We the Strong; women, men and children; 1, 1000, 100 million, 7 billion strong, we must.
International Women’s Day is designated a national holiday in 15 countries. In 2011, the United States designated the month of March, International Women’s Month.
The women’s committee encourages everyone to work to improve the lives of women, everywhere.
“There is no female mind. The brain is not an organ of sex; Might as well speak of a female liver.”– Charlotte Perkins Gilman- Writer, economist and lecturer
“Tremendous amounts of talent are being lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt.”
Shirley Chisholm – Politician, educator, the first black woman to serve in the United States Congress