For some years now, March 8 has been celebrated as International Women’s Day. Today Sara gives us her perspective about this…

Do we really know the importance of this day?

First of all, I would like to make a historical contextualization to explain why Women’s day is celebrated on this day and how feminism arose.

Next, I will explain the main advances that have been achieved through feminism and finally, I would like to address current issues around the need to celebrate this day and continue fighting for new changes.

Why is women’s day celebrated on march 8th?

International Women’s Day was declared on March 8 by the United Nations in 1975. The most likely explanation for this is as follows:

On March 8, 1857, thousands of female workers in a textile factory decided to fight for their rights and took the streets of New York with the slogan “bread and roses” with the intention of protesting the insufficient working conditions and demanding a reduction working hours and the end of child labor.

However, March 25, 1911 is also of special importance since on this day there was an unpleasant and unfortunate situation.

The Triangle Shirtwaist shirt factory in New York caught fire. A total of 123 women and 23 men died. Most were young immigrants between the ages of 14 and 23.

The fire was caused by the burning of fabrics by a badly putted out cigarette.

The workers were unable to flee as the factory managers had closed all exits, a common practice at the time to prevent theft.

This awful situation led to the emergence of new health and safety regulations.

This same story tells that the smoke that came out of the factory was precisely purple. But, beyond the anecdotal, it was this colour that the English suffragettes themselves chose in 1908.

And these may be some of the reasons why this colour has been used to make the feminist struggle visible.

Main advance of the feminist struggle

Feminism emerged with the aim of acquiring female suffrage at the end of the 19th century.

In Europe, the pioneer country in establishing women’s suffrage was Finland.

In Spain it was established in 1931.

The main objective of feminism is to achieve social, political and economic equality between men and women in order to build a freer society.

Some historical achievements of feminism are:

  • Women’s suffrage.
  • Universal access to education for women.
  • Sexual liberation of women and visibility of female desire.
  • Elimination of certain dress codes.
  • End of sexual discrimination regarding access to work.
  • Labor social protection in case of pregnancy.
  • Right to abortion in many countries.

Unfortunately, these advances are not enough and we must continue to fight to achieve a free and just society in which the conditions of women and men are equitable.

Despite having made numerous progress, there are still countries with special infringement towards women.

The main objectives of current feminism are related to gender violence, abuse, rape and deaths that sadly exist daily around the world.

We must also remember that violence that women suffer is not only physical, since psychological, emotional, economic, sexual violence or fear and control must also acquire a great condition of importance.

Another important reasons why feminism is important today is to fight against child marriage, female genital mutilation, forced pregnancy and trafficking in women and girls.

Despite the fact that this reality is not common in Europe, there are still countries in which such situations take place, it is mainly concentrated around 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East, also in some countries in Asia and Latin America. What’s more.

Despite the fact that this practice is illegal in the European Union, it is estimated that around 600,000 women living in Europe have been subjected to female genital mutilation.

All these situations make us understand the importance of transnational feminism, which defends fighting against this type of inequalities and violations despite not suffering them personally. Defend the rights of all women regardless of their cultural, religious or geographical status.

“No woman will be free until they all are”

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