How did it start?
It’s hard to say exactly when the first International Women's Day was, surely the first "symptoms" of it must be related to the 15,000 women who marched through New York City demanding voting rights, better pay and shorter working hours back in 1908.
On February 28, 1909, the first National Woman’s Day was celebrated in the US and a year later, Clara Zetkin, the leader of the ‘women’s office’ of the Social Democratic Party in Germany, suggested the idea of an International Women’s Day, and following a conference which gathered more than 100 women from 17 countries, IWD was formed. In 1911 this important day was celebrated in 4 countries. Fast forward to 2011, when former US President Barack Obama proclaimed March to be ‘Women’s History Month’.
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Why do we still need to celebrate it?
IWD was originally aimed to achieve full gender equality around the world. But, boys, we are very far from there, these are (only) 5 reasons why it's still very important to celebrate Women's Day.
1 Gender Pay Gap
Even in developed countries like the UK and the US, there is still a substantial difference between male and female employees. And we don't need to mention second and third world countries, right? PS: Optimistic studies from the World Economic Forum suggest that the gender gap won't close while we or our childrens' children will be around, more precisely around the end of the next century.
To see how different cities and countries around Europe rank on the gender pay gap, see the Spotahome Equality in Europe Ranking.
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2 Women's education level is lower than men's
Lots of studies and statistics show that the number of educated women is lower than men, globally. Parents in certain countries still only push for sons to be educated but neglet their daughters' ambitions. Don't look that far, this could be happening right next to you.
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3 Violence against women is still accepted as "normal"
In 2017 like never before, violence against women populated the headlines and global news. After the numerous allegations against Harvey Weinstein and other prominent men in power, the #MeToo movement finally gave a voice to women on the abuse and harassment they suffer in film, fashion, music, politics and art. In 2018, #timesup exploded even further with female actresses fighting for the cause and wearing black at BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards ceremonies.
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4 Because victim blaming still f^£@ing exists!
All around the world, rape occurs every. single. day. And more often than you could possibly imagine, the victim often takes the blame. Whether it was a skirt too short, a dark narrow road, a misguiding look, too-sexy shoes, women are still blamed for instilling some sort of animal instict in men.
Are you f^£@ing serius?
Hold your guns, boy.
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5. Boring stereotypes
Girlfriends, this is still a man's world. Regardless of what you think and see around, there is still this crazy stereotype that follows our gender like a shady ghost from centuries past. I'm not just talking about the lack of female CEOs and in politics - which in my humble opinion it's ridiculous since women are SO much better than men in SO many things and we would make the world a much better place - I'm also talking about the male-dominated idea that women should all be girly-pinky-silly, that they should do yoga, but not boxing, that they should be sexy nurses but not doctors, educated but not engineers. We, women, should be free to choose what we wanna do/be/go/marry/love.
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So, yeah! We kinda still need to celebrate women all around the world. This is why, on IWD on March 8th, women across the world come together. To force the world to see these inequalities and realise that they are awkward, stupid and medieval. Inspired by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the IWD 2018 theme is #PressforProgress, in line with the growing global movement of activism and support surrounding gender parity and sexism. Women all around the world need to continue the vocal fight for equality.
Sisters, the road is still long, but we can do this.
Photo by Clarke Sanders
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