International Women’s Day 2007: What Will You Be Doing?
International Women’s Day is coming up on 8 March. It’s an event celebrating more than half the human population but it has a perennially low profile – often like the gender it celebrates. What’s International Women’s Day for, and how ‘should’ it be celebrated?
International Women’s Day is once more almost upon us.
Big events take a lot of organising, but, despite the IWD announcements, as in other years scarcely anyone is talking about how to celebrate this particular event. Of course there will be a scattering of (very welcome) arts happenings, and a conference or two, but… excitement in the air, there is not.
Celebration or frustration?
Perhaps the low-key approach to International Women’s Day is because many of us, women increasingly long in the tooth and short on patience, wonder if we will ever have an equitable stakehold in what’s on offer. Or else, still young and hopeful, perhaps we don’t yet think much about these matters.
Whatever, who wants to invest a lot of time and money in celebrating ‘women’s issues’?
One day a year is women’s notional allocation of celebratory time, and that’s not far off the proportion of wealth and top-level influence which women have, either. (I exaggerate and overstate the case a little, but not much.)
For those of us who, as women, value what we are and what we actually do, ‘progress’ does indeed seem to be very slow.
The dilemma: What does it take?
Our dilemma is this: Intuitively, we seek to celebrate, not stipulate. But celebration could be perceived as a very weak response to the multiple ‘challenges’ and deprivations which, globally, are still the lot of many more women than men.
Perhaps we should be marching in the streets, not sending out yet another lot of (idealised?) sisterly love, solidarity and affirmation.
Marching on the streets has however been done before, with sometimes important but generally only limited success – and often with fierce downsides for particular individuals.
And if we take just the harsher route of campaign, never celebration, we become very much like those whose behaviour, stereotypically, we may not always wish to emulate.
So is International Women’s Day worth celebrating?
I’d say, Yes – both because it focuses on issues which have particular resonance for many women of all ages and statuses, and because it reminds us of women elsewhere (than in the modern, western world) who should not be forgotten.
My ‘answer’, however, takes us almost nowhere in terms of how we should actually conduct our celebration.
Does anyone have any ideas?
Read the discussion of this article which follows the book E-store, and share your thoughts on the meaning of International Women’s Day, and how it could or should be ‘celebrated’.