It’s International Women’s Day, yay! Let’s burn our bras! Or not, because they’re fucking expensive and lots of us are just using tit tape these days. So how are you celebrating? Going to an event, listening to something by your favourite female musician or just telling your favourite lasses that you love them?
No matter. Whether you are going all out, or doing nothing at all, when the subject of IWD comes up you will inevitably hear “Why do you need an International Women’s Day now” or “Won’t it be great when we don’t need one any more”.
Well, here’s the thing: we are always going to need one.
If you enjoy relative freedoms you will be made to feel guilty for paying tribute to such days by a roll of the eyes and a “God what more do you all want”, or the obligatory “Make me a sandwich” (Fun fact. Sandwiches were invented by a male aristocrat, so why not try forcing the rich to make you one instead).
If you look around the world there are certainly marked differences in the emancipation of women. You could argue if you are in the west, like myself, that we have it pretty good compared to the struggles of our sisters around the world who could be imprisoned for dancing or killed for refusing to marry or because they were raped.
We still need it for them. For those who are the very most oppressed. We need it for the women in those places who are standing up alone and fighting it, regardless of the risk posed to themselves and their families for doing so. For every soldier in the YPJ resisting both Daesh and Erdogan.
We need it to celebrate the many battles we have won and recognise how far we have come and to remind ourselves of what we came from.
We need it for the same reason we still need our other days. May Day, Black History Month, Pride, and Miners Galas. Because no matter what progress is made or how much things change, there will always be those who seek t exploit us and try to take away the freedoms that have been won by us and those before us.
Look at the threats to the NHS and the human rights act here in the UK right now. Look at how we are making women who have more than 2 children through rape prove their trauma to the DWP so they can afford to feed them. Look how the rise of Christian fundamentalism in the US and how the Trump administration is currently trying to drag it into a Handmaid’s Tale style dystopia as it enables rapists and denies access to women’s health programmes through defunding. Look at the difference in Iran compared to how it looked before the Islamic revolution in 1979. We think when we win freedoms that they are ours for good. That we always progress. But fights like this are never over as history has shown us time and time again.
So happy International Women’s Day, here’s to many more where we recognise ourselves as warriors and not just as victims of oppression- Remember, it was lasses who kicked off the Russian revolution. There’s so much more to do.