By Juliette Nguyen
It was in 1975 when the United Nations began sponsoring the holiday International Women’s Day (IWD), which is annually celebrated on March 8th. In addition, events are held all over the globe to not only appreciate women, but to raise awareness of the issues that women face in different countries.
Leading up to the creation of IWD, several movements occurred internationally which helped gain support for the actual creation of the holiday.
Last century, Clara Zetkin and Aleksandra Kollontai took part in the most famous International Women’s Day, the March 8, 1917, strike “for bread and peace” led by Russian women in St. Petersburg. Commonly known as the February Revolution, the riots and strikes forced Russia to see that women wanted their rights. These events led us to develop the still celebrated holiday in Russia, coined a day to honor “the heroic woman worker.”
Then, it was in America during and after World War I where women began to change the ideology of what the role of the woman was in society, largely inspired by flappers, who were deemed as risky and daring.
Later, women were proving their worth by showing they were just as, if not more, intelligent than men. For example, in England, Ada Lovelace developed analytical machines and is now accredited to being the mother of our modern concept of computing.
These significant points of progress have allowed for women to rise to a higher level in society, not only socially, but economically and politically as well. Despite these advancements, women have not been able to reach full equality. There are so many injustices in the world that hinge upon the fact that we live in a patriarchal, male dominated society.
Women have a lot more privileges in America compared to a lot of other regions in the world, even if they are not equal to men’s privileges. However, we need to see that gender inequality is a major global problem that needs to be handled with affirmative action.
Each year, sati kills about 25,000 brides, where they are burned to death in India due to husbands’ disappointment in their dowries. The groom’s family sets the bride on fire, showing it as an accident or suicide. The groom faces no consequences and is able to move on and find another bride.
In many countries, women who have been raped are sometimes killed by their families in order to preserve the family honor. These killings have been reported in a multitude of countries such as Jordan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and other countries in the Persian Gulf.
According to UNICEF, or United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, 100-140 million girls and women have been forced to face some sort of female genital mutilation. Today, this happens in 28 African countries, despite the fact that it is outlawed in a lot of of these nations, such as Egypt, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
Rape is continually used as a weapon of war in Chiapas, Mexico, Rwanda, Kuwait, Haiti, Colombia, and many other regions of the world.
The world needs to preserve this tradition of IWD in order to break stereotypes and further the progress to reach full equality, which can be supported through not only changing our patriarchal ideologies of today’s society, but women supporting and uplifting each other instead of attacking each other, further perpetuating gender stereotypes.