Meg Kissack is an active member of the Cardiff Feminist Network. She is currently studying English literature at Cardiff University and is a co-editor for Women’s Views on News
By Meg Kissack
Today marks the hundredth anniversary of International Women’s Day. It’s a day of celebration, to look at and admire women’s political, social and economic achievements.
When you mention 8 March, International Women’s Day may not spring to mind for many people in this country, but you may be surprised to know that it’s a national day of holiday in over 30countries worldwide; including Afghanistan, Uganda and Russia.
It’s a time to celebrate how far we’ve come as women and see how far we have left to go. There’s no denying the amazing achievements that women have made over the past century alone. In the UK at least, women can now vote, own property and have a high-paying career.
Women have come leaps and bounds – but we mustn’t forget how far we have left to go. The gender pay gap means that women are still paid less than men. We live in a society that still sees it acceptable to sell things using a woman’s body. Between one and two women in this country are killed by a male partner every week and in the UK we have the lowest rape conviction rate in Europe.
On an international level, things look far from optimistic. According to the Fawcett Society, one in every four women are raped. Women are being oppressed around the world simply for the fact that they are women. In fact, more women are killed around the world for being, as Simone de Beauvoir put it, the second sex, than all of the people who have died of AIDs and died in war combined. Women are the only majority that are oppressed.
While today is a day of celebration, it is also a wakeup call for many people who disregard feminism as a thing of the past, and tell us that women are now equal. We are not equal. The battle is still raging and we will not stop fighting for equality until we get what we rightfully deserve.
International Women’s Day is the perfect chance to explore some of the things that women around the globe are doing for women’s rights. The Guardian has a list of the ‘Top 100 Women’, which will provide much inspiration, and show just how much women are doing to change the world. According to the International Women’s Day website, the UK is holding more events to celebrate the occasion than the USA. When you consider the size and population difference between the two countries, it is hard to ignore that there is a resurgence of feminism in the UK.
Today is looking to be a great day. I for one will be joining many other women on Bute Park Bridge in Cardiff for a Join Me On The Bridge Event, then I will be heading home with a big bunch of flowers for the most inspirational woman in my life; my Mum.
I hope you all have a happy International Women’s Day and celebrate how far women have come, but look to the future for ways to improve. And if anyone happens to ask you why there isn’t an International Men’s Day, reply as my friend did to one disgruntled man, ‘Every other day is International Men’s Day!’
There are many IWD events running in Wales, to check them out, please visit the Cymru Women website. And if you are in the Cardiff area this week, please do come along to Cardiff Feminist Network’s Breaking the Waves festival to celebrate. Details and a programme can be found here.