110 years ago we started to celebrate the International Women*’s day.
The idea of an international women*’s day was born on 28th of February 1909 based on the initiative of the American Socialist Party.
One year later, in Copenhagen, the Socialist International held a meeting that adopted an International Women’s Day, although no fixed date was set. As a result of the Copenhagen initiative an annual celebration with marches for women’s rights have been held. International Women’s day has been celebrated on 8th of March since 1975.
Since 1910, women* have held demonstrations to promote equal rights, including suffrage for women*. They protested in order to obtain the right to vote and to hold public office. They also protested against gender discrimination in employment.
March 8 became a symbol for the global resistance of women* struggling for their human rights, equality, recognition and respect.
Still, 110 years later, the struggle for gender equality is just as needed.
What are we fighting for today?
Today, we are still suffering from the persisting inequalities between men and women*, due to social, economic and cultural reasons, represent one of the most pervasive forms of oppression in human history.
Gender specific education, gender stereotypes, and labour market division still produce patriarchal structures at all levels of society.
More than two thirds of all people suffering from poverty are women*. They have low and inadequate access to health systems and education. Their income is lower, their working hours are longer, their access to the working market is limited and the social security systems often ignore their needs. Further, women* are not represented in public life when you look at it according to their numbers among the population, only one out of eight parliamentarians all over the world is female*.
Women* are too facing sexual harassment, rape, and violence.
We all need to support women*s struggle for equal rights and opportunities as well as self-determination all around the world.
Legislation and positive action programmes should guarantee full equality between men* and women*. This means equal access to education, equal access to all jobs and equal pay for work of equal value.
We need to enforce the right to a self-determined sexuality, receive information and practical assistance in using and getting contraceptives. This right should be guaranteed to all women*.
Every woman* should be able to make decisions when it comes to her own body. The reproductive rights of women*, including the right to have an abortion, the right to planned parenthood and the right to contraception must be respected and implemented all over the world.
We need an improvement of the child care system and a reduction of working hours in order to ensure equal opportunities and to reach a better work-life balance for both women* and men*.
We need to ensure women*’s equal participation in social and political activities in every country. It is crucial to have a guaranteed right to equal representation of women* at all levels of decision making.
The above statements are some of the reasons why we fight and continue to fight every day to build a global feminist consciousness with the aim to make gender equality a reality everywhere in the world.
It is one of the fundamental aims of IUSY to work together, women* and men from all corners of the world, from the South hemisphere to the North. We will continue to work diligently to achieve self-determination, economic independence, new gender roles and non-violent relations.
Equality and justice for women* are a crucial element of a fair and peaceful world.