Full transparency, I hadn’t pre-planned anything for today. Until seeing a friend’s post earlier this morning, it had slipped my my mind that today was ‘International Women’s Day’.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The theme this year is ‘Choose to Challenge’, encouraging us to: celebrate women’s achievements; stand up for gender equality and speak out against inequality, bias etc.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I agree these are things to be actively engaged with, and there maybe more ways in which I could be doing so locally and globally. I do also feel my ‘choose to challenge’ is a daily lived reality of being a woman, a Black woman; navigating this world cross-culturally in the UK and abroad.
The keeper of my own stories of experiencing seen and unseen inequality and bias; familiar with being the only ‘one’ in the room. Additionally, having an increased awareness–through my adult eyes–of what my Mother, Aunts, Great Aunts and other Phenomenal Matriarchs experienced.
So part of my #choosetochallenge continues to be to strive to live my life intentionally and in recognition of the legacy of my Ancestors. Phenomenal Woman who have walked this earth before me. Paving a path for me and others to walk on. I am, because they were and are.
As the sun sets on the day, may it not set on the light that we have shone, and should continue to shine on the lives and legacy of the women who have been; the women we are; and the women who are daughters, nieces, granddaughter, god-daughters will be.
As it goes down, and the moon comes into view, so it is with the lives and legacies of the Phenomenal Women who having illuminated the skies, made way for those now coming into view. Let us truly reflect the light and life they gave us, and use our light to illuminate the spaces we now occupy.
As today—March 8th—will soon come to an end, to borrow the words of Nina, may there truly be a “new day, a new dawn, a new life,” for us all
A quick overview of the history of International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.
Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women’s oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on February 28. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975. Then in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.
2021 and beyond
The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation may feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices…History of International Women’s Day,