Happy Women’s Day

March 8, 2010

Today is International Women’s Day:

International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, IWD is a national holiday. The first IWD was run in 1911.

Of course, as we celebrate this day, some ignorant people in the media are spreading the ludicrous idea that we should also have a “Men’s Day”. This kind of wrong-headed view justifies the continued celebration of IWD. International Women’s Day comes from the centuries of struggle for equality, justice and dignity. Men on the other hand (as a gender) have been privileged and not suffered systemic discrimination or oppression. There’s nothing to celebrate, no discrimination overcome, no rights won.

Calling for a “Men’s Day” just underscores the lack of understanding that many people have about the history of International Women’s Day. Something for the new National Curriculum perhaps?

(Note: some men – and women – have overcome great injustice such as class or racial discrimination, which is why we have Labour and May Day, or in the US Black History Month. In this case, we celebrate the gains and successful struggles of both men and women.)

UPDATE:

There’s a great post over at The Punch:

On the contrary, if we ignore the situation of girls and women around the world, if we miss the point of International Women’s Day, we will lose the opportunity to create a world of healthier, more educated and wealthier communities; we will condemn girls to early marriage, abuse, illiteracy, unemployment and maternal mortality.

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