I want to mark International Women’s Day this year. It marks the 100th anniversary of the first International Women’s Day.
As I considered what to write, I came across a post I wrote for the day in 2009 and to be honest, it says exactly what I want to say today so I thought rather than repeating myself, I’ll link back to it.
I also want to link to some blogs and sites that have come up in my RSS feeder and that struck me as important and interesting.
The Open University ‘Platform’ which is a sum of blogs from people linked to the Open University – asks the question ‘What Woman Inspires You?’ of their bloggers. It is definitely worth reading through some of the responses. One of my favourites was by a student, Carrie. Really worth reading to appreciate the work of the students and of the Open University in general.
Talking of inspiring, Annie Lennox blogs on the Oxfam site on the importance of marking International Women’s Day and of the work that still needs to be done. My favourite line in her post
until recently, in the British Parliament, there were more men called David and Nick than female MPs.
And still with Annie, she has a fine piece in the Huffington Post about the need for women to reclaim feminism stating
Despite the fact that half of the world’s population is female, women’s rights have become marginalized as a “minority issue.” Many young women feel that the label of “feminist” is, at best, irrelevant to their lives and, at worst, a stigma to be avoided at all costs. Sullied by stereotypes of hairy, arm-pitted man haters, the concept of feminism and its principles of equality and anti-sexism need to be refreshed and reclaimed by a new generation. Feminism shouldn’t be an F word. We should embrace it.
And I applaud her for putting words to my own sentiments. I am a proud feminism and I won’t apologise for it.
The sentiments are the same in this post from Lindsay Donner about the stigma that has been associated with the word ‘feminism’ to discredit women and paint feminists as ‘hairy arm-pitted man haters’ if anything is indicative of a patriarchal society ‘stealing’ the energy behind the emancipation of women to m make us feel as if we have to justify our feminism.
That site also helped me discover the Feminist Coming Out Day. Which made me smile but also made me sad. We shouldn’t need to feel it is anything at all to be shamed about that needs a special declaration.
More UK based there is the We are Equals Campaign which is a coalition of charities and arts organisations who are arranging events throughout the UK as well as debates around issues of gender equality. It’s worth checking what they have on in your local area.
And back in the mainstream press, the Guardian has a great feature on the ‘top 100 women’ in different categories of influence – Law, Technology (um, there are only two – and I think that says a lot), Activists and Campaigners and other spheres.
My goal today is to take inspiration from the work of women and to celebrate the achievements of women. It makes me immensely proud but I’m going to finish on a political point.
This government’s policies discriminate heavily against women and against mothers. Women are predominantly carers and the policies of this government are rampaging through some very hard-fought rights and dignity.
We need the government to listen to the voices of women.
One of the reasons, the many reasons, I’m marching in London on March 26th.