Feminism | Posted by Rosamund C on 03/15/2011

Why Do We Still Need International Women’s Day?

A week ago today (March 8th), countries around the world celebrated the hundredth anniversary of International Women’s Day. But surely, one hundred years after its conception, women don’t need their own special day anymore? What about an International Men’s Day, hmm?

The answer is that the 364 other days of the year belong to men. It’s more important than ever that a day specifically for women is celebrated: to see how far we have come, and to see how far we have to go.

No one can deny that in one hundred years, huge amounts have been achieved. When I woke up on Tuesday, I was proud to be an independent woman, able to live, work and travel freely, able to study at a university and be awarded a degree for my efforts. In Britain at least, many people believe that the fight is over.

So why do I believe that feminism is more relevant than ever? The statistics speak for themselves: 75% of civilians killed in war are women and children; one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime; one in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime; worldwide, 60 million girls are sexually assaulted at or en route to school every year.

Even just the fact that only 19% of MPs are women (in America, this figure is 16.5% for the whole of Congress) is shocking, and reflects the figure for the percentage of parliamentary seats held by women worldwide. It’s not easy to pinpoint exactly the reasons for this, or what we can do in the short term; it’s not a simple case of sexism or discrimination. The lack of women in high-powered jobs reflects on our society in general, and the expectations of women even today.

There are some countries where IWD is celebrated with much pomp, and where routine prejudice and discrimination against women is still tolerated. Fortunately, that is not the case in the UK. But with the Fawcett Society attempting to hold a judicial review against our government, because 72% of the cuts currently being implemented will directly affect women, we mustn’t forget the importance of feminism, on International Women’s Day and every day of the year.

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  • Allie @ at 12:58 pm, March 15th, 2011

    i love this article, a guy at my school asked, well where’s men’s day and why don’t men have mens study class’s? i told him that everyday is men’s day and if you go to history class, you will get men’s history. he did not see my point but my other friends did, glad for that. i feel that men are scared of sharing the power for some reason, even some men who face racism on a daily bases. to me those men should know more than anybody else what its like,on some weird level, to be a women and face discrimination. sometimes i feel like i should just shut up, that i’m fighting for nothing, i’m from Texas, but then i come on here and change my mind!

  • Anna @ at 1:30 pm, March 15th, 2011


  • Alice @ at 3:27 pm, March 15th, 2011

    Erm… there is an international men’s day. Google it. Nice article otherwise though.

  • Ryan @ at 8:14 pm, March 15th, 2011

    Implying that women are invisible and not significant contributors to culture and humanity 364 days a year is a fallacy. How can you say that women make no contribution?

    You are measuring things by men’s ruler. Women are the central element of the social fabric and community. They are the life blood. I believe you are thinking to much in the physical realm of contribution. Just my opinion.

  • Natalia @ at 3:02 am, March 16th, 2011

    I got really annoyed at people who suggested an “international men’s day”. It’s the same situation as someone who believes in men’s studies. Bullshit.

  • Lillian @ at 7:02 am, March 16th, 2011

    I had no idea there was an International Men’s Day, thanks for the info :) The way I see it, having two days in the year to highlight gender inequality and try to fight it can only be a good thing. I will now be celebrating both with equal vim.

  • Allie @ at 2:51 pm, March 16th, 2011

    you know what @Lillian i actually, sadly at first, agree with you, yes women still have way more to go than men, but i think the whole idea of having both is to get rid of gender stereotypes and gender roles that we as society still cling to. we want to be equals. women still aren’t fully equal to men in my eyes but there are a few gender roles we do push on men to follow which i think are extremely harmful. i do not agree with the MRA’s views at all, i think they miss the point about feminism is about. but to me this International Men’s Day are to celebrate the male feminists in our life, thats the way i take it!

  • Allie @ at 3:02 pm, March 16th, 2011

    and to the men on here who think women have equal rights, check this out

  • NWOslave @ at 7:10 pm, March 19th, 2011

    I’m sorry for trolling but I just can’t let the constant stream of lies continue.

    This article states…”60 million girls are sexually assaulted at or en route to school every year.”

    So lets do our math, 60 million over 12 years equals 720 million, (all girls). Now women, who don’t die prematurely, live on average to around 76 and graduating 12th grade is an average of 18 years old. So roughly 23% of women are 18 and under.

    There are 3.2 billion women in the world and 23% are 18 and under, or 73.6 million and 72 million are sexually assaulted on their way or at school that means around 96%.

    This article also states…”one in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.” which is 20% of all women. This is obviously sexual harassment.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but when calculating out the numbers all women have a 100% chance of being sexually assaulted/raped a minimum of at least once. Well, according to the “facts” anyway.

  • Simim @ at 6:24 pm, March 22nd, 2011

    I think what it is, is that feminists and non-feminists are viewing things like International Women’s Day as two very different things.

    And personally, I think “International Women’s Day” is a misleading title, as well.

    When we as feminists see IWD, we view it as a day to promote awareness of the inequalities women still face globally, even though in many developed countries these statistics have been reduced(although not eliminated).

    Whereas non-feminists view it as a day to glorify and raise women onto a higher pedestal than men. In this sense, I can see why many men kid around about having an “International Men’s Day” to make things “equal out.”

    They’re simply not thinking of the statistics. In their head, they still think that feminists think men are inferior to women.

    And sadly, a lot of people who call themselves “feminists” perpetuate this crap, as well as a lot of women who aren’t feminists.

    Male-bashing =/= feminism.

    It helps to get into the mind of who you’re talking to. Obviously there are many men who are blatantly sexist. But there are also many men who think WE’RE being blatantly sexist too and who would readily be feminists if they understood what it really entailed.

    I’ve never been raped. I’ve never been denied a position or paid less because I am a woman. I’m postponing any decision to bear children until I feel I could financially support them by myself, even if I had my lover/husband assisting me.

    I’ve almost been raped. I got away with a bruise around my arm. The man was arrested. I pulled out my knife, stabbed him in the calf, ran, and called 911. I understand things could have gotten a lot worse but that’s never stopped me from walking by myself.

    I live in Houston. I don’t presume my city is 100% but I don’t presume that the murder rate is 100% either. I understand that there are precautions to take, but these are the same precautions my other male friends take too: don’t venture into alleyways by yourself, call friends and let them know where you’re at, carry a legal pocketknife for defense, etc.

    I don’t think women in the U.S. have it nearly as bad as women in other countries may, and I could rant on and on about these things until I’m blue in the face.

    I also like to think that I’m just as assertive, aggressive, ambitious, and adaptive as any of my male counterparts. In that sense, I can easily see why many men are wary of things like “International Women’s Day” and may see it as one of those days they’d get to come home and be berated by their sister or girlfriend for being born with a penis.

    And I also like that there *is* an “International Men’s Day.” Because many feminists forget, that with all the atrocities committed to our sex across the globe, that there are still some decent guys out there who are total dicks.

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