March 8 marks the annual celebration of International Women’s Day, a call of action to highlight the important contributions women make globally. Since the early 1900’s, women have taken to the streets for equality on all platforms. This year, along with International Women’s Day, many are observing “A Day Without A Woman.” A protest “recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system — while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.” [Women’s March] All of this in response to the new presidential administration and their lack of respect for women’s rights.
This is not the first protest set for International Women’s Day. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay, and voting rights. The marches continued every year until the eve of World War I, when Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day in February 1913. This is the same year March 8 was chosen as the day of observation. Not until 1975 did the UN observe their first Women’s Day, and in December 1977, the General Assembly announced a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year.
Unfortunately, by the Millennium, feminism had lost much of its popularity and many of the celebrations had ceased to exist. However, with the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day approaching, President Barack Obama set March 2011 to be “Women’s History Month”, asking Americans to reflect on “the extraordinary accomplishments of women” in history.
2017 might be one of the most important and influential International Women’s Day celebrations we’ve seen in decades. Both women’s and society’s views on equality have shifted. No longer do we believe the battles of feminism have been fought and won. Just because women are finally seen in higher job roles, doesn’t mean we’ve reached full equality. Women are still not paid equally, still are not equal in numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than men.
This year, many are also observing “A Day Without A Woman.” Those using this platform hope the world will see just how important women are in business and culture. By taking the day off work, many businesses and schools are seeing the impact women truly have in society. With a presidential administration that blatantly disregards women’s rights and health, women need to stand up and be heard. For those who couldn’t take the day off work, show your support by wearing red or pink in solidarity, and shop local female owned businesses. Together we can make a difference.
To show support, visit womensmarch.com and use the tag #adaywithoutawoman.