Student Speaks: International Women’s Day
By: Devon Bradley
On March 8, the world celebrated International Women’s Day. Why do we still need to mark this day on our calendars?
To provide some background, the very first Women’s Day was declared in 1909 by the Socialist Party of America as a part of a campaign for safer working conditions. In 1975, the United Nations– who officially sponsors the Day– officially sanctioned March 8 as International Women’s Day. Today, it celebrates women’s achievements, past and present, in all areas of life in hopes of inspiring women all over the world while further pushing the fight towards gender equality. The UN declared this year’s theme to be “Planet 50-50 for 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” Simply put, this year’s concentration was an effort to not only accelerate the rates of education equality on a global scale but to also secure plans to end all violence and discrimination against women by 2030.
So why do we still celebrate it? The original intent of the day- complete gender equality- still has not been realized; in fact, progress toward this has slowed in many areas of the world, including the United States.
Here in the United States, the entire month of March is designated as Women’s History Month. Women’s History Month began as “Women’s History Week” in 1980 under President Carter to correspond with International Women’s Day. In the curriculum we are taught in school, only major historical figures like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Harriet Tubman are mentioned; the critical work of women in the past as well as women of the modern age are ignored entirely. Women are seldom discussed in great detail about the countless contributions we’ve imprinted on society. With this disparity in education at a basic level, it is no wonder why it is difficult to help girls feel empowered when they are not taught about role models in their field.
It is imperative to observe both International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. The solidarity we share worldwide on International Women’s Day reminds us of what we need to fight for the other 364 days a year. Not only does Women’s History Month acknowledge the strides made by women for increased rights, it reminds us that we too have progress to make toward rights that have yet to be secured such as equal pay and the end of female exploitation.