On March 8, International Women’s Day takes place. Unlike what many people think, it isn’t a date to praise the beauty, nobility or kindness of women (those qualities are not exclusive to the female gender). It’s a date that celebrates the demand for equal rights for women.
Why March 8th?
This date, made official by the UN in 1975, has several events as precedents, but one in particular: March 8, 1957. That day, hundreds of female workers in a New York textile factory marched in protest to the low wages they received (half of what their male peers earned).
The police managed to disperse the march, leaving a sad toll of 120 women lives. Two years later, the first women’s union was created.
Women began to realize that a change was vital, and demonstrations were increasingly frequent, not only in the United States but in other parts of the world as well.
On March 25, 1911, another event occurred, also in New York, which was decisive. A fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist shirt factory claimed the lives of 123 women and 23 men, making it the industrial disaster with the most fatalities in that city. The owners of the factory closed the exits to avoid thefts, making it impossible for the workers to escape.
The popular clamor did not wait, because a year earlier, many of these women caught the attention of citizens after participating in a massive strike that demanded better wages, fewer hours of work and the possibility of forming unions. When the union organized a funeral march through the city, 120,000 people showed up, and another 300,000 saw it.
Another event that was important for the March 8 officialization was a march in Russia in which the women went out to protest the death of two million soldiers in the war. In the old Russian calendar, this march took place on February 23. In our current calendar, it’s March 8.
This march originated the Russian Revolution, which resulted in the fall of the government. The arrival of a provisional government granted women the right to vote.
Photo: Kiana Bosman
“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”
Simone de Beauvoir
Now that you know a little about the history of this important date, I’m sure you want to “celebrate” it and soak up what’s all about. Here are 5 ways to do it:
1. DON’T CELEBRATE
Don’t invite a woman to have a drink to toast on her day. Don’t congratulate her or give her chocolates. If a woman expects you to do it, maybe you should send her this article. This is not a date to celebrate, but to be aware of the problems we globally face for being women Although essential things have been achieved to reduce these problems, there is still a lot of bread to be sliced. Do you want to make a gift? A good option is a feminist book.
2. WATCH SERIES, DOCUMENTARIES OR FEMINIST FILMS
There is a lot to watch now. And it’s simpler with Netflix and YouTube. Some suggestions:
- Period. End of Sentence.
- Miss Representation
- Hot Girls Wanted
- Amanda Knox
- Orange Is the New Black
- Feminists: What were they thinking?
- Malena Pichot: Complex stupidity
- Ladies First
- She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
- I Am Not an Easy Man
- The Help
- He Named Me Malala
- Feminist TED Talks
3. THE 8M RALLY
It’s very likely that the feminist march is being organized in your city. This is an excellent opportunity to go and join other women in their struggle. If you are a man and have children, stay at home and take care of them so that your partner can go.
4. CONSUME ART
Visit an exhibition, play, or concert directed by feminists, or that has feminism as its central theme. There’s also plenty of illustrators to check out on Instagram.
@LetraImaginaria by Alesia Lund Paz (illustrator)
Other illustrators in Instagram:
5. PUT YOURSELF IN HER SHOES
If you’re a man, put yourself in her place. Ask yourself what the world would be like for you if you received the treatment that a woman gets. Would you feel safe going out at night, for example? Would you feel comfortable if people judged you for the way you dress or the shape of your body? It’s an excellent opportunity to discuss the issue with friends.
6. LISTEN TO FEMINIST MUSIC
Why not a feminist playlist for a change? Forget about reggaeton (preferably make this a goal for your whole life) and look for music by feminist singer-songwriters. Here’s one created by Alida Joyas, for example.
Now that you have the necessary tools to commemorate this day, what do you plan to do?