Why do we need a day for women? Surely every day is International Women’s Day? Why do we only get one day?
These are great questions and one’s that invariable fill my Twitter feed and daily conversations throughout the month of March. It’s flawed and it’s fraught but my love of International Women’s Day, much like my love of Taylor Swift or romantic comedies, refuses to be dampened by controversy or criticism.
So why do we need in a day for women? I spent the four years I lived in New York working for a series of charities and NGO’s and in the world of fundraising and activism ‘days’ are a big deal. There’s International Day of Education, World Cancer Day, World Pulses Day (yup, that’s a real one), International Day of Forests and (my personal favourite) International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. These days might seem excessive but my general rule of thumb when it comes to ‘Days’ is that until we have justice, we need a Day.
International Women’s Day is not a day for self love or fan-girling over Beyonce. International Women’s Day is a check-mark every year where the world stands up and announces the pro-gress that it’s making towards ‘the women issue’. Because as much as we may wish it weren’t the case, ‘women’ are still an ‘issue’. Women are an issue because across the world, women are discriminated against and marginalised and we need a ‘Day’ because until we have equality, true equality, the women issue is never going to be swept under the rug.
One of my favourite ever feminists, Adrienne Rich, once wrote that “the connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet”. International Women’s Day is our day to remind the world that no matter where we live or the issues we personally face, we are connected, and we will not stop fighting until the issues hold back every single woman on the planet back are issues no longer.
Scarlett Curtis is the author of ‘Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies: Amazing Women on What the F-Word Means to Them’