Do we need International Women's Day?greenspun.com : LUSENET : WorldWoman Discuss : One Thread
I've seen press reports here saying we don't really need International Women's Day. Women have made great strides, they are taking their rightful place in the worlds of politics, work and even journalism, the arguments runs. By focusing so much on women, we are in danger of provoking a male backlash.
That argument takes no account of societies where women form an invisible majority, where their rights and freedoms are not respected. International Women's Day may give them one chance in a year to focus on their needs and their achievements. What do you think?
-- Rosemary Burnett (email@example.com), March 03, 2000
First, what a wonderful site to discover. It has all the earmarks of becoming a standout addition for world women. Second, I am in Labrador Canada and work as a coordinator of a rural women's centre (not to be confused with a shelter, but is a place of information and a voice for women in the political world). Thank Goodness for IWD. It actually triggers so many of us to send catch-up info to each other, gets unions to remember us in their own political agendas, and provides me with the means to do public education in a remote, isolated area where racism and sexism are still on the frontier level. Maybe urban women have appreciated great gains (and I know that's true, 'cause I was one until a few years ago) but rural women are still incredibly vulnerable to sexism, and often not able to easily access resources that would help legislations be enforced at the local level. As well, IWD reminds me, as a white middle class woman in a G7 country that I have a responsibility to share what I have gained with those who are often struggling against non-progressive, and (especially) regressive regimes that sabotage everything that promotes gender equality. It is far too easy to sit on one's laurels when no one's song of plea can reach one's heart.
Good luck with this, and I promise to check in again soon
-- Jan Dymond (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 04, 2000.
Firstly: Fantastic set up here! Secondly: IWD is a must! Rosemary, you speak of societies where women "form an invisible majority, where their rights and freedoms are not respected", as if these are societies far removed from our own 'privileged' ones. In my opinion, even in societies where women are able to gain education and economic independence, we continue to live in a society run by men and their so-called masculine values. The WORLD is run by men, be they politicians, executive businessmen, media barons, medical practitioners, judges and lawyers... the list goes on. And within this patriarchal world, if women aren't being stoned to death for infidelity, sold into marriage at the age of eight, living in fear of violence and rape, we are continually bombarded with sexist material and assumptions which negatively impact on the female psyche. These assumptions are so entrenched in our societies that they become internalised by women themselves. IWD is needed because collectively we are able to force a recognition of these truths which are otherwise swept under the carpet by the powers that be.
If IWD didn't exist as a focus for the patriarchal backlash, something else would (and other things do). Neither the threat nor the reality of a backlash will keep me from working to achieve womens' rights.
-- Asha Rawlings (email@example.com), March 12, 2000.
ok,call me pessimistic,but i am a 19 year-old girl from one of those countries where women for the most part,do form an "invisible majority" and i don't think that,at the bottom line,IWD helps very much at all. don't get me wrong,i am very much in favour of feminism and equal rights,but i live in the most metropolitan city(bombay)in india,and injustice and discrimination against women is everywhere.and i don't think that declaring one day as IWD really,when you really come down to it,at grass roots level,makes much of a difference.its simply not a strong enough measure.and i understand that the day is all about creating awareness,but what about the other 364 days of the year? the point should be to generate awareness all throughout the year,at all levels.living in a city,with not-very orthodox parents,i don't really feel the effects of discrimination in my personal life,but there are so many that do.so many friends with well-off educated parents,just expected to give up a career for an arranged marriage,or who aren't allowed the same freedoms as their brothers. no,its not fair.yes,steps should be taken to do something about it.i just feel that the something be a little more forceful annd attention- grabbing than declaring only one day out of 365,as reserved for women.
-- jayati vora (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 18, 2000.
Although in part I agree with Jayati's comments, the issue should not be one confined to 'celebration' of day or days alone. We have had in the past a year devoted to women but the fact remains that for many women; rights, injustices, equality and equity are still everyday issues. The symbolism of the day/date is to remind us that sisters all over the world have a day where they can call their own, celebrate it, recall their achievements and also reflect on the unfinished work at hand. It is a means where we can qualitatively and quantitatively mark our achievements and seek to spur others on. IWD is not and should not be merely seen as tokenistic. Invisible women can be made visible on these days and honoured appropriately. IWD becomes a focus for these recognitions and should seek to inspire others to follow suit.
As for male backlash, I am sure most women in the real world are aware that irrespective of your position, power is still predominantly male. Until we have a world where both men and women can have equal say, equal rights and effect them judiciously and effectively, women would also need a day or even days to remind them that 'it's still a long and winding road'!.
-- Leng Wong (email@example.com), April 22, 2000.
i do not believe in this iwd celebration business.its like trying to make up for 364 days of bullshit women have to face in most parts of the world.men are just trying to humour their women and make up for all their misendeavours towards women.no men are pretty secure with the knowledge that this iwd business is all an eyewash and hence there is no reason to fear any sort of backlash.a woman needs to be loved and reassured of her importance every day of the year.one day celebration is not enough to make up for centuries of oppression.
-- poonam narang (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 22, 2000.
Yes,I.W.D.is only one day out of forever but being a woman I am in the business of male backlash, it is called degradation, exploitation,hate,abuse and ultimately murder. We should celebrate our survival and remind the world of those who don't. We should celebrate it with a brutal honesty not with Glasgow city council sponsored women in business jamborees that sullied the existence of women living in poverty. If celebrating it means pouring sweet smelling oils over the egos of super successful women who mimic their oppressors, then no thank you. It is a day for sending messages of support to my sisters worldwide, a day where I won't shut up or sit down, a day where I remember women like Emma Goldman and my mother and all our mothers, a day where they wonder what I will do next .Karen Thomson. Andrea's Daughters.
great site, very pleased to have come acr
-- Karen Thomson (email@example.com), April 05, 2001.
IWD should be here to stay. And to all those who think we have made enough great strides in the right direction you ain't seen nothing yet. Just been reading a report on the news aspect where women are the victims and men the subjects we have not focussed enough on women. If they want to lash back let them but really at what? I am sure the steps we are making as women is a good thing for them so that they do not have to feel guilty about having the best part of the cake while the women watch with watering mouths and rumbling tummies.
-- Christine Oduor (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 28, 2001.
I did not see any mention of the effect of white supremacy that engulfs the globe which is what truly drives the industrial nations of the western hemisphere.
The inequality between Afrikan men and women is very little in the West once levels of education are accounted for due to many avenues for stable 'secure' employment in government positions, education healthcare, office work etc .
It has been recently noted that this year there are more Afrikan women in the US and the continent Alkebu-lan (now misnamed by the Greeks as Africa)that received college degrees since statistics have been recorded.
The effects of white supremacy that work to benefit immensely Caucasian women has not been mentioned likewise as they have overwhelmingly been the greatest beneficiaries of affirmative action policies in the US though the media and politicos prefer to use it as a wedge to further divide the already separated races. Just look at the state of Amerikkkan cities that are overwhelmingly non- Caucasian. It has been noted time and time again that white flight occurs once the non-Caucasian population reaches 8% What of the fact the fact that the US is more segregated today than during legal segreation? The
The economic state of non-Caucasian people globally is atrocious regardless of the male female inequities. Most of the globe is non- Cuacasian yet there is absolutely no inclusion of their situation on any global agenda spearheaded almost exclusively by middle class college educated Caucasians in the wealthiest nations of the world pontificating about their not being able to make the same gains as their white male counterparts. This will continue to be overlooked until the reality of white supremacy's grip on the consciousness of non-Caucasian and Caucasian people is swept under cleverly worded phrases and destructive policies.
The Non-Caucasian people form over 90% of the world's people slowly we are witnessing the eroding of gains earned by the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and subsequent colonizing of the world by Caucasians. This whole idea of women's rights was a reality in non-European nations milleniums before their infiltration. As the power to exploit the world's people dies a much needed death we are witnessing some minor gains by women worldwide. The nation of Indonesia has a woman as the head of their state. In India there was a woman that controlled that nation. Yet for some reason (sarcasm) the European nations that claim to be so free and democratic and equal rights minded have failed to reach such plateaus as other impoverished nations. This farce of women being abused must look at the abuses of all peoples mainly the non-Caucasian that dominate the population of this globe and will assume their former glory.
Peace mark07e please commment
-- mark elliott mitchell (email@example.com), September 30, 2001.
I have just checked your website and wish you the best ... I'll spread the word so that others join and support, particularly African woman site, since I am living in Zimbabwe.
On the subject of IWD, I agree that we can wonder what the benefits of IWD are, and whether this isn't just some male thing created for window dressing about how they are so supportive of our struggles...
I don't know much about the history of IWD, so I am taking it at face value, but I think that context is important to understand how we react to it. If anyone has that info, it would be good to share.
But I think that the idea in itself is a good one, and we can try out some new ways to make it more meaningful for our struggles. For example, I don't know of many countries where IWD is a public holiday (South Africa does have a public holiday which is women's day I think). This doesn't make up for the 364 other days of toil and suffering, but it makes for a space and creates and event where can mobilise around.
It would also be great to organise for more publicity into the event, and more resources to be put towards making a big deal out of it. That's up to us, women and women's organisations. This might be one day when we can reach out to younger women, who can be given a chance to think more deeply about how they are being socialised, particularly through the media, to think about how they are affected by patriarchy and break away from that, but also to convey messages about how they can change things for the future - eg. tomorrow's leadership should belong to women.
Maybe there are other ways to reach the same ends. But mobilisation is key to the success of the struggle, and the international aspect lends weight to the universality of women's struggles, and it might be one (though small platform) to do that. Rather than simply debate whether IWD is significant or not right now, we should maybe look at how we can use it better.
-- Nancy Kachingwe (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 01, 2001.
I don't think a day within a whole year will solve all the problems of female subordination and oppression accross the world, but I do believe that it will raise awareness of issues, cause debates, bring ideas. If this day was backed by a world conference situated every year in different places around the world, the people to be involved would be of a great number and subsequently the people to get aware and introduced to new issues, too. So, yes, to a IWD!
Elli Papadopoulou, Greece
-- Elli Papadopoulou (email@example.com), November 22, 2001.
We all know that out of both the sexes, women are the ones more oppresed in more than one ways. An International Woman's day is a great idea and I believe it could be the beginning of something constructive. It is very hard though to change ideologies and cultures. A woman's day (or rather a woman's week) would raise awareness but I dont' believe it will alleviate women's suffering around the world in a profound way. Unless laws can be changed and the culture itself values the female role in society, there is no way that the lives of oppresed women will change dramatically, since many do not have a sense of self worth. They have to realise themselves that they are worth much more and be aware of their own strengths in order to make an improvement. I strongly believe that women around the world are already becoming aware of their rights and in a few years or decades time there will be noteworthy movement of women fighting for their own rights and demanding a better quality of life. Women (and men) can help women by creating an infrastructure which totally supports the development of womens' personalities and their special role in society. I am glad to be a woman, I think if she can express herself completely and can contribute without inequalities she will have much more to offer. A strong woman is a creative, productive, distinguished woman.
-- amalia georgakis (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 30, 2001.
We support International Women's Day. It is interesting to note that International Men’s Day (IMD) was celebrated for the third consecutive year on Monday November 19, 2001. The Men’s Day started in Trinidad and Tobago. A few organisations in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean joined in this year’s observance.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which is based in Paris, France has come out in support of International Men’s Day (IMD). Speaking on behalf of UNESCO, Ms. Ingeborg BREINES, Director of Women and Culture of Peace, said: “This is an excellent idea and would give some gender balance.” She added that her organisation was looking forward to cooperating with the organisers of the IMD.
The support of women is important because their full co-operation is needed if we are serious about improving the relationships between male and female.
The objectives of celebrating an International Men's Day include improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, producing responsible males and highlighting positive male role models.”
The annual observance of International Men's Day seeks to address problems and challenges facing men. These issues include the involvement of men in domestic violence, drug abuse, fathering, homicides, sports, politics, religion, parenting, suicides and family life.
The goal of the Men's Day is to foster and promote unity and create a safer, better world.
In public forums, discussion groups and conferences, attempts are being made to address and seek solutions to the problems facing males in today's society. The IMD committee hopes that men interested in improving themselves and reforming other males would be part of this ongoing "Men's Revolution" and annually celebrate International Men's Day.
We should strive for gender equality and reform whilst we remove the stereotypes and the stigma usually associated with men in our society.
We solicit the support of women. We are committed to equality and fair play for both men and women
-- International Men's Day Committee (email@example.com), November 30, 2001.
I think that women should have a international day just for them. Because as womenwe have to stick together and believe it or not we are still fighting for our rights! Never think that just because we now have the right to vote and we can work and stuff we are still fighting!!! As a young 18 yr. old I think that women should be treated as equals reguardless of their color,size,shape,race or for that matter their level of intellengance! Never underestemate the level of brains a women has. She is smartter then you think and that's what matters. Her place is not only at home but also in the ''real world'' she has that right and NO MAN CAN TAKE THAT FROM HER!!!! We are just a equal to men, so men don't think that just because you've ruled the world for what seems like forever, we're out there and we will have our day. Remember everytime a new baby is born they are girls. In every classroom, the population is greater for girls then boys. Now maybe we can try to actually understand the reason or question why women become gay...? I leave this up to you to figure out=;)
-- Tasha Mascarenhas (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 05, 2002.
As far as I know IWD is derived from the women´s labour movement and it´s struggle for equal pay and voting and human rights for women.I think these all are still valid issues in many parts of the world.Here in Germany for example there is still unequal pay for women and we have problems with domestic violence,rape and sexual abuse by men and for example only 2 or was it 5% of all professors in medicine are women,whereas we have more than 50% of all medical students who are women. On IWD there is traditionally a demonstration in Bielefeld where I live.This year it was very small (20-30 women)as feminism is a little bit out of style it seems.Nonetheless you could find women and broschures from the womens shelter,the women´s center,the women´s human rights group Terre des Femmes(www.terre-des-femmes.de),the feminist psychological service,turkish women,lesbians, women protesting social spending cuts and little gils protesting for becoming the first female chancellor in the future.Álso there was information by Beginenhof e.V. -women united for women´s living together projects.At the invitation of the women of the social democratic party, the women´s representatives of the city,female politicians and female police officers debated and informed about the new laws against domestic violence:the police now can condemm the beating man to have to leave the house instead of the women with children having to escape her violent partner and flee to a woman´s shelter.I think this is progress and it is nice to have an IWD. I would like to know more about activities in other parts of the world concerning the IWD celebration,particularly Africa. e-mail me if you like.Kind regards Susanne Kretschmann M.D.
-- Susanne Kretschmann M.D. (email@example.com), July 21, 2002.
As far as I know IWD is derived from the women´s labour movement and it´s struggle for equal pay and voting and human rights for women.I think these all are still valid issues in many parts of the world.Here in Germany for example there is still unequal pay for women and we have problems with domestic violence,rape and sexual abuse by men and for example only 2 or was it 5% of all professors in medicine are women,whereas we have more than 50% of all medical students who are women. On IWD there is traditionally a demonstration in Bielefeld where I live.This year it was very small (20-30 women)as feminism is a little bit out of style it seems.Nonetheless you could find women and broschures from the womens shelter,the women´s center,the women´s human rights group Terre des Femmes(www.terre-des-femmes.de),the feminist psychological service,turkish women,lesbians, women protesting social spending cuts and little gils protesting for becoming the first female chancellor in the future.Álso there was information by Beginenhof e.V. -women united for women´s living together projects.At the invitation of the women of the social democratic party, the women´s representatives of the city,female politicians and female police officers debated and informed about the new laws against domestic violence:the police now can condemm the beating man to have to leave the house instead of the women with children having to escape her violent partner and flee to a woman´s shelter.I think this is progress and it is nice to have an IWD. I would like to know more about activities in other parts of the world concerning the IWD celebration,particularly Africa. e-mail me if you like.Kind regards Susanne Kretschmann M.D.,Bielefeld,Germany
-- Susanne Kretschmann M.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 21, 2002.