It is well known by all that March 8th is the international women’s day. For this day, all men congratulate the women in their life, whether they are their wives, mothers, sisters, friends and so on. But why is such an event celebrated today? Why women need a day for everyone to dedicate their attention to them. The answer is simple, despite the passing of the years and what women have suffered throughout history, today there is no real equality in the most developed countries and of course, let’s not talk about countries of the third world.
What are we doing wrong? To begin with, recognizing the role of women only one day a year. In my opinion, it is legitimate to spend a day recognizing how important women are, and highlighting that, however it may be controversial as we should have the same rights as men.
For example, in Croatia, men give a specific flower, a red carnation “karanfil”, which symbolizes the strength of women. The red carnation is a symbol of the labor movement, and in addition to being a gift for Women’s Day, it is a regular sight at demonstrations as part of International Labor Day. Companies give it to their female workers as a symbol of the labor movement on Women's Day.
As I said, it is nice to remind the women in your life that you appreciate them and take advantage of this day to show it. But we must not forget why this day arose.
“On March 8th, 1908, a momentous event marked the history of labor and union struggle throughout the world: 129 women died in a fire at the Cotton factory in New York, United States, after they went on strike with stay in their workplace. The reason was due to the search for a reduction of the working day to 10 hours, a salary equal to that received by men who did the same activities and the poor working conditions they suffered. The factory owner ordered the building's doors closed so that the women would desist and leave the place. However, the result was the death of the workers who were inside the factory”. -Cultura.gob.ar-.
That same year, on May 3rd, an event was held for Women's Day in Chicago, a preamble to the commemoration of "National Women's Day" on February 28th 1909, in New York. Following this, a year later, in 1910, the second International Conference of Socialist Women was held in the Danish capital, Copenhagen. The central theme was universal suffrage for all women, Clara Zetkin, leader of the "uprising of 20,000", officially proclaimed on March 8th as the International Day of Working Women, in tribute to women fallen in the strike of 1908.
A bit further, in 1977, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) officially designated March 8th as International Women's Day. Then, in 2011, the centenary of the celebration was celebrated, with the premise of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN women). Until not so long ago, women were simply wives, housewives, owned by a man. Without their own rights, without freedom and in many parts of the world, this remains unchanged. But until everyone (men and women together) firmly believe that this is fair, it will never change. And obviously this movement needs the support of governments and international organizations with enough power to achieve real change.
Continuing this topic, I would like to offer a very representative current example of my country. In Spain, every year, on March 8th, a massive demonstration takes place in each of the cities. Thousands of women and men take to the streets to protest what they believe is fair.
For us this day is very important, because although we live in a social and democratic country based on law, with a left-wing government it does not seem to be enough, changes come slowly and are never enough in practice. On March 8th 2020, in Spain we celebrated the mythical demonstration for Women's Day, against the criteria of the European health agency, since we began to have cases of coronavirus. This decision was highly criticized by many sectors because after the march, cases of coronavirus soared even among the politicians who attended.
The most conservative sectors used this fact to criticize this day and the insignificance of the demonstration. But it is important to note that that same weekend there were political rallies and numerous meetings for different aspects. But even so, they only criminalized women's day. And this year, unfortunately, the controversy has continued to impact everyone. A week ago, the Government of Spain approved an institutional declaration on International Women's Day in which it argues the need to continue defending feminism but asked to avoid mass demonstrations and "not to put the health of the citizen woman at risk."
For the demonstrations of 8M "there is no place this year" said the current Minister of Health Carolina Darias. And my question is: why were the elections in Catalonia held on February 14th 2021, inviting even those infected with Covid to vote in person? Why was a tribute to the Blue Division allowed in Madrid on February 15th (Just for you to understand, it was a unit of Spanish volunteers that formed an infantry division to fight the Soviet Union in World War II. It was framed within the Heer, the army of Nazi Germany.)
On the other hand, protests against the imprisonment of rapper Pablo Hasel for criticizing the monarchy, continue to take place, despite the fact that he was arrested almost 20 days ago. Yesterday, the Atletico Madrid fans gathered at the arrival of their team without respecting the safety distance in the minutes before the derby (football match) and like those, many more current examples. But it seems that what really worries them is the day of the women. For its part, feminism itself is divided between those who continue to go out on the streets, which on a symbolic level aims to be a visibility of the strength of the movement, and between those who defend other types of actions, such as feminist strikes or demands from the balconies.
In Madrid the central government has prohibited the demonstration, with the excuse of the impossibility of maintaining security measures. But why don't they suggest an alternative that doesn't stop the event? In other cities like Valencia, my city. Despite the recommendations, some small demonstrations are being held respecting all current regulations. Obviously, some people will not be comfortable attending due to fear of getting Corona, and it may be the most prudent thing to do. But even if this is not the best time, what is really important is support for the feminist movement.
Before ending, as a friend says, we don't need flowers, we want more rights. But please, don’t take it wrong. Although we like men to take us into account one day and congratulate us for what we are, the idea is not to stop celebrating this day, but to understand why it is so necessary.
If you really want to get the right gift, help us achieve real equality.
Happy Women's Day to all the women of the world.
Feliz día de la mujer a todas.
Vanesa Marco Serrano.