Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. Gender Across Borders is hosting a Blog for International Women’s Day, and one of their prompt questions asks: What does “equal rights for all” mean to you?
I, for once, will keep it relatively short.
International Women’s Day is essentially a day of symbolism. Many use it as a day of activism, solidarity, or reflection, but the world cannot be changed in a day. So symbolism is still at its core. In its own way, that can certainly be a valuable and worthwhile thing.
But it is useless for even that much if it does not recognize and center all women, including and especially those who are most vulnerable and commonly forgotten. International Women’s Day is useless if it does not recognize and respect both the womanhood and humanity of women who are trans, and dedicate to fighting for their rights and basic safety. International Women’s Day is useless if it does not include and remember women who have disabilities, and work for their essential rights and towards creating greater inclusion and accessibility within our own communities. International Women’s Day is useless if it does not center poor women all over the globe, including those in developing countries, who are struggling against hunger and violence. International Women’s Day is useless if it overlooks the rights and safety of those suffering the greatest violence, including (in addition to those listed above) sex workers, trafficking victims, and slaves. International Women’s Day is utterly pointless if it does not include and explicitly welcome women of all races and ethnicities, sexual orientations, ages, immigration statuses, religions, and nationalities; remember that women have multiple aspects to their identities, and “woman” does not necessarily come first; support the work that women are already doing; and give the bulk of its attention to those who need it most.
In other words, International Women’s Day is useless if it does not include all of the women who are reading this blog right now. And International Women’s Day has failed worst of all if it only includes women who are able to read this blog right now. Because a day that is not about equal rights for all is a day that is necessarily not actually about women, but a day about only some women.
And that is something that all of us can stand to remember in our daily activism, as well.
Similar Posts (automatically generated):
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- Happy International Women’s Day! by Jill March 8, 2013