Common Questions About 'International Women's Day' Answered
By Bianka Farmakis
Happy International Women’s Day! What a time to be alive. As a day known to saturate our feeds with positive, female-centric content, illuminate issues still equating to an imbalance in the sexes across a variety of paradigms and industries, and draw laborious eye-rolls from disgruntled members of society, often the advent of this day draws a slew of the same questions posted, propositioned and placated pretty much anywhere. So, in the interest of steering toward a more harmonious and less contentious celebration of all things attributed to womanhood and being a woman in our 21st century sphere, without any authority on this topic (outside my gender), I’ve taken the liberty to answer some common questions regarding International Women’s Day.
A toast to free speech and social media based discourse!
1. What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is an internationally recognised (shocker) day (ground-breaking) to celebrate women (GASP) across all creeds, colours, sexualities, abilities, socio-economic backgrounds and genders. Though mostly a positive day, that involves spreading love and expressing admiration for personal female heroes and public advocates for women’s rights, it’s also a platform to discuss issues intrinsic to be being born, or being a woman, and the long standing historical fight for equality between the sexes. It is celebrated on the 8th of March every year as a focal point for the women’s movement, and was officially first celebrated in 1910, when the International Socialist Woman’s conference in New York suggested it be an annual event. It was officially adopted by the United Nations in 1975, and also retains strong roots in the Soviet Russian suffragette movement, among other nations similar plight, which saw women gain the vote on the same date in 1917.
2. Is there an International Men’s Day/When?
International Men’s day is celebrated in over 80 countries on the 7th of March. It is also celebrated on the 19th of November on a more globally recognised scale. A more cynical person would argue it’s also International Men’s Day 365-366 days of the year.
3. What can I do to celebrate International Women’s Day?
A range of things! Given the stereotypical convention that all millennials are obsessed with social media, you can post a single, or series of images of the women you admire to your timeline, feed or stories. Alternatively, you can have a discussion about women’s right’s issues with the people in your life, preferably including at least one woman. You can text a woman with a non-sexually charged compliment, or ask her an actual question on her views toward the social/economic/political/cultural progress of women. More tangibly, you can donate to a female-related charity, aid in a female cause, join a march, sign a petition, donate sanitary items or aid to a local women’s shelter, read feminist literature or help a fellow female out. You can also call your mother (if she’s in your life), and just have a nice chat.
4. Do I have to be a feminist to celebrate International Women’s Day?
Not at all – despite the gender-centric focus of the day, International Women’s Day is meant to be celebrated by everyone. It focuses on unity and equality between the genders after all. Unless you prescribe to the idea that women shouldn’t be equal across all aspects of society, or deemed human, you can most certainly celebrate International Women’s Day.
And at the end of the day, if you do prescribe to the notion that women SHOULD BE equal across all aspects of society, then you’re actually a feminist! Happy days.
5. Why don’t we get a day off if it’s such a big deal?
Despite the gravity and importance of this day, for the same reason that we don’t get a day off for Beyoncé’/Tom Hanks/Meryl Streep/Michelle Obama’s birthday, we just simply don’t.
6. Why do I still feel like it’s just not for me?
I can’t answer this one specifically, but if you’re still feeling left out on the day, just channel your inner bell hooks and remember
“Feminism is for everybody”
And it’ll make the world a more balanced, beautiful place.