Why do we need International Women’s Day?

I hear in my memory, the voice of a man I once knew, talking about why isn’t there a men’s day, and how women hold all the power anyway. He, and those like him, are exactly why we still need to raise issues and awareness.

There are plenty of Western women who believe that the equality issues are all sorted and feminism is just another bit of history. I’ve met them too. And there are guys who believe that what they do in the privacy of their own bedrooms and marriages shouldn’t be anyone else’s business. Including the belief that the police should not be investigating them.

We need International Women’s Day because internationally, definitions of rape are too often shoddy and sometimes non-existent. Worse still there are countries where the female victim of this crime can be punished for sex outside marriage. I’ve heard men speaking on the radio about how if girls dress in provocative ways, of course they are going to get raped. As though to be a man is to have no self control. That’s an insult to men. The guys who think that lack of self control is a justification for rape and violence need telling that no, they are not proper men. Real guys can keep it in their pants when they need to. We have a long way to go on that score.

We need International Women’s Day for the many, many victims across the world who suffer domestic abuse. Not just the ones who are bruised and bloodied, but the ones whose self esteem is taken from them, who are used as slaves, drudges and sex objects. Those who die at the hands of men also need to be spoken of. There are still too many people of both genders who think its fine for women to be subservient to men. We need today for the trafficked girls who are kidnapped and sold, and who, if rescued will be stigmatized by their communities for what happened to them. We need it for the girls from impoverished families who don’t get an education and are sold into marriage before they even hit puberty. For the girls in their early teens who still die in childbirth every year. For the victims of forced marriage everywhere.

We need it here in the UK too, where your typical woman still earns 20% less than your typical man and a working mother can still expect to do most of the housework and childcare. Here in the enlightened west where a rape victim in a court room can still expect to be asked what she was wearing when the assault took place, as though that made a difference.

We also need to celebrate the women who have been persistently written out of the history books. We have a tendency to focus history on male politicians, ignoring the roles of women, their work and actions. It creates an impression that all women do is stand round as ornaments and squeeze out babies, and this has NEVER been the whole story. Have a look some time at the role of women in dissent and radicalism in UK history – they take some finding because most books don’t include them. You’ll need a specialist, feminist text for that, but thankfully they exist.

We are a good half of the population. We have as much intelligence, skill and potential as those who landed in this world blessed with a willy, on the whole. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but on the whole, we are more alike than different. But there are still places around the world where to be a woman is to be a second class citizen at best. And there are still people who can’t hear ‘no’ in every country. Until rape is consigned to the past, until trafficking has gone forever, until there is no man on the face of this planet who is able to imagine that he has the right to own and control women, we need today.

While we’re here, it’s a good time to also appreciate the good guys, the heroes, fathers, co-workers, equals, companions, friends… the ones for whom respect is natural and a given. The ones who listen, care and respect themselves enough to do the right things for the right reasons.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

8 responses to “Why do we need International Women’s Day?

  • Angharad Lois

    Yes, yes, a thousand times YES!
    And anyone who grumbles about the inequality of International Women’s Day may find it interesting to know that there is, in fact, an International Men’s Day (there’s an excellent little blog post about it here: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomchiversscience/100142520/there-is-an-international-mens-day-actually-so-shut-up/)

  • Happy International Women’s Day | Journeying to the Goddess

    […] in childbirth every year. For the victims of forced marriage everywhere” (continue reading “Why do we need International Women’s Day?” by Nimue Brown, […]

  • Iodhan Silverbear

    I will admit that I used to be one of those people who asked such questions. “Why do we need gay pride parades?”, “Why do we need Black history month?”, etc. After I awoke from my ignorance I realized that it is about creating and maintaining awareness. Why do we need an international woman’s day? In my humble opinion: If we could help to resolve the clear and resilient oppression of the female half of our species, returning them to the place of honor and equality that is theirs by every law of nature, then many of our problems from that point forward could be tackled that much more easily. Would our problems go away? Certainly not. United as a species, both the male and female together, we could tackle those problems much more effectively.

  • john booth

    International women’s day, on the atherreal level it would seem that the inherant forces of karma focus more on the consciousness of women. ah but what about the herhmaphrodites. If we can but consider that women is just not pyshical her soul is , quite a complexity. I know many women who channel alsorts of items , then after a period forget they say these things. Being that they have a higher being self. Many of my athereal guides are women, and are very active in bring about suttle karma action. the buddhist mind , Dukkha is the first Noble truth and i can tell you it is not just lifes problems. One turn of the century Dalai lama wrote, “women are the conveyors of karma. We would not need to incarnate if women didn’t exist. Growing up in a monastic system perhaps hardly enlightening statement. Just because you call your self a Buddhist does not make you enlightened!in fact it makes you intolerant, because you have not entered in to the 8th fold path yet,think on that. We need a women’s international day to bring back the mind set we have be tolernat od all. and stop being verbal wankers about many things ,action more than just words. .

  • kaarinav

    Absolutely!
    The truth of the matter is you don’t have to go far to find domestic violence or rape or child abuse or trafficking. You probably don’t even have to leave the road your are living in!
    For every woman out there, many of whom know what it is to be hit or abused in some way, this day is for you and me and for our daughter’s and their daughter’s, that we might be free from this violence and the weakness of the perpetrators of this violence.

  • Helen Wood

    Women are more than half the world’s population. Most men are made as they are by their mothers. Let’s call it International Feminists’ Day. It has nothing to offer women who are happy being women. Women rule the world and always have. Feminism is for women who don’t want to accept the responsibility, women who want to play the victim or the child for the whole of their lives. Yes, there is genuine oppression, but blaming it all on men, whilst patronisingly throwing the “good men” (which reminds me of the concept of the “good Jew” who has nothing to fear from registering) a bone for overcoming their vile nature, is just silly. Womanhood is not an affliction, but a blessing, and I refuse to pretend otherwise, on any day of the year.

    I know that makes me unpopular with feminists, but I can live with that.

  • wiccangal

    Reblogged this on Hawthorne Cottage and commented:
    Here here!

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