It’s the 8th of March and even though the world might seem more disunited than it was before, we in En-Gender think that this is a day of community, strength and the future!
Every 8th March, the globe celebrates the International women’s day often oblivious to its origins within the socialist women’s movement. In the contemporary times, many have asked that why must women be celebrated for just one day, and not the entire year? However, that is precisely the irony of it. March 8th is not the day where women do not face violence, it is not the day when women are paid equally as their male colleagues, and it is neither the day that systemic oppression of women stops. It is on the other hand, a reminder of these very things. Corporations, institutions, and the neoliberal world symbolically passes the mic to some women on this day as a reminder that women matter, I would not quite regard that as celebration without them taking concrete efforts for gender parity. The strength of March 8, lies in its precise ritualistic nature, where it acts as a natural reminder that women continue to struggle, and continue to fight for their basic rights. While some are easier, many are the very same since the beginning of the annual women’s day in the early twentieth century. The annual day is a homage to the one’s before us, who paved the path for our rebellion. Generation after generation women live March 8, and the year surrounding it like Groundhog’s day; fighting for their rights, in hope that we will not need an annual reminder of our existence as equal citizens in nations, and equal humans. Until then, I ask all those marginalized to keep forcing those around you to remember, and exist resoundingly.
Imagine it would be International Women’s Day and no one would go. What was it like before we had this day? What has changed since then? These are the questions that I ask myself very often as I am a historian of early feminism. Even though feminism has changed, it does not seem as if much of our obstacles and challenges have. I was just talking to a colleague about the problems the name “women’s” day bears. Who ist meant by “woman”? Should we still use this name, even when we know, some people do not feel included or are even actively excluded by some of those who celebrate this day and call themselves feminists? I say: we shall not! Let’s not forget our predecessors, but celebrate their activism, however controversial it might seem from our point of view. Where would we be without them? Let us think back and gain strength by knowing that women* before us had the power of imagination and the force to see their visions come true.
I am not a big fan of these “days of X”. They tend to unify, simplify things. Thus, making it easier to transfigure meanings, wishes, and desires of change. They unify under one denominator. one definition. It makes things easier, more comfortable. Things are not easy, nor comfortable. Not for the mine worker whose health deteriorates for almost nothing or for the one suffering from a so called loved one or for the one being shoved into a truck to be rented as a sex object or for the one being called an outlaw just for expressing who they are. If there is any good coming out of this day, it should be the resistances you may encounter today. Be sure they are not a one and done thing , neither a one month thing. They happen all year, and we should account for them all year! If you can share your experience and resistance, shout them out loud! If you do not get what I am saying then start today to listen and read what those around you are saying. Do not just hear, listen!
When celebrating #IWD, it’s important to not get caught up in the #girlboss feminism that seems to take centre-stage too often. Instead of calling for more woman ceos, we must go back to the movement’s routes and demanding the abolition of neoliberal capitalism that succeeds by exploiting the most marginalised and oppressed. 2020 is thought to have set gender equality back by 25 years. Today, we must use #IWD2021 to #choosetochallenge the system that is predicated on inequality. We must fight for the recognition of #emotionallabour and #unpaidwork that props up neoliberal institutions. We have to amplify the voices of those all too often ignored in the fight for #equality. And importantly, when clock strikes midnight, we have to keep fighting. We can’t stop and countdown until IWD2022 to act again.
We as En-Gender want to contribute to the ways in which we do research and activism. Gender is not done with us, so we are not done with gender!
This is why we encourage you to publish your papers with us, engage with people on our blog and join our conference this summer (cfp following soon).