Where does my strength come from? I can tell you, definitely not from what school taught me. My strength comes from gratitude to all the women who fought for my rights before me, it comes from determination to make them proud.
International Women's Day means that I look back at Susan B. Anthony, an incredible social activist, or at Simone de Beauvoir, who paved the way for feminism, and wonder if we will ever talk about them in class. Because even though we are in the 21st century, there is no such thing as 100% gender equality.
A little bit of historical context: Clara Zetkin first advocated for International Women's Day at the Second Congress of the Socialist International in 1910, which then took place, without an exact date, in 1911. In Germany, Austria, Sweden, the USA and Switzerland, women demonstrated together, demanding equal rights and equal opportunities in working life as well as voting and electoral rights.
"These are not special rights, but human rights," declared Clara Zetkin, who in 1921 during the second communist women's conference set 8 March as the worldwide date for International Women's Day.
This year, I’ll use International Women’s Day to spill some facts:
- The “Not all men” excuse does not make any sense. Maybe not all men, but enough men for every woman to be afraid: Why Men Should Stop Saying #NotAllMen. Immediately. | by Kirsty S | Medium
- Abortion is a human right: Q&A: Access to Abortion is a Human Right | Human Rights Watch (hrw.org)
- Feminism does not suppress males, in fact, this movement does not allow sexism against either gender. 11 Facts About Feminism | DoSomething.org
- Women still earn less than men: The gender pay gap: what now? | The King's Fund (kingsfund.org.uk)
- Feminism’s enemies are not men but the patriarchy: Men— Feminism is not your enemy. — Sartorial Magazine
Today, I am ashamed that the need to protest for equal rights still exists.
I am ashamed that once again girls and women are deprived of their human dignity and stripped of the right to decide over their own bodies.
I am ashamed to think about what Mary Wollstonecraft did for every single girl out there and that I have to admit that we are not there yet. Because that is the truth: We still have a long way to go before we can finally, finally see a world of justice and equality.
What's it like to be a girl? Suffocating. Exhausting. Tiring. Let's not forget that women take up half of the world population, shall we?