I know you all have this day circled on your calendars every year, but I wanted to remind you all, just in case…
As far as I’m concerned, International Women’s Day should not be an occasion for giving women flowers and chocolates, or offering to do the household chores one day out of the year, or – as happened to me today – being offered half a day off work along with other female employees in China.
What it should be about is remembering that, even if you live in a society or class of basic gender equality and freedom, there are women across the world who do not: women who live in poverty because their gender means that they are not free to work, women who are made to bear too many children because they are forbidden from controlling their fertility, women who live under oppressive fundamentalisms, women who labor every day on land that their gender ensures they may never own.
Today should be a day for education and activism, a today for remembering that the systemic mistreatment of women not only harms women themselves, but reinforces paradigms of what constitutes acceptable, gendered behavior that harm everyone.
Here are a few examples of simple things you can do to honor International Women’s Day:
- Remember that proposed legislation that would harm women does not have to be enacted. Send a message to your congressperson urging them to impose no new restrictions on abortion in the US.
- Create a little feminist guerrilla art – just to remind everyone that you’re paying attention!
- Watch the film The Stoning of Soraya M; learn more about how religious fundamentalisms disproportionately harm women here.
- Attend an event celebrating International Women’s Day near you.
- Donate some money to an organization working to end gender injustice. I’m sure your Googling skills and judgment are up to the task of finding something appropriate for your interests!
- Be kinder to your female body today. Stop criticizing and punishing it for being too old/fat/dark/wrinkled/freckled/saggy/ethnic. Who knows – you just might like it.
How will you be celebrating this day, Dear Reader?