Imagine you’re a woman in the early 20thcentury. 1908 to be exact. Your working conditions are horrific. You face exploitation daily. Long hours. Terrible pay. Adding to that, you’re not even allowed to vote.
This was the life of women in New York. Women who, over a hundred years ago, stood up, said ‘no more’ and took to the streets to protest these unfair conditions, and to ask for more. To demand equality.
It wasn’t an easy fight and in 1910 the Socialist Party of America created a National Women’s Day to honour those who took to the streets. In 1910 it levelled up, going global with the Socialist International voting for the creation of a Women’s Day, a move that saw over a million people take part in rallies throughout Europe in 1911.
Throughout the decades this day continued, with people taking a stand for women to be seen and treated as equals. Then in 1975 it was given an official day by the United Nations: March 8 – International Women’s Day.
I Am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights.
45 years on as another International Women’s Day is upon us, we stand up, we celebrate, we embrace, we advocate, we raise up all wahine, across all faiths, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual identities and/or disabilities.
Around the world our rights must be protected and enhanced.
We may fight for equality in the work force, but as of 2019 the gender pay gap sits at 9.3% in New Zealand and 14% in Australia. Shockingly, 2.7 billion women around the world are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men.
A horrifying 24% of New Zealand women will experience high-end sexual violence in their lifetime (according to The Ministry of Justice’s 2014 Crime and Safety Survey), and that’s not even taking into consideration the daily micro-aggressions women face. On a global scale, 33% of women have experienced sexual or physical violence, with 87,000 women killed every year for no other reason than their gender.
Since 1908 we’ve taken great strides, but there’s still a long way to go if we’re to achieve the equality we deserve, not just as women, but as humans..
International Women’s Day is a day to recommit to doing the mahi.
Ways we can do this? Stand up for each other. Advocate for each other. Choose not to tear each other down but to raise each other up. Donate to causes that support women. Choose to support women in your buying habits – buy from women authors, women musicians, women-owned companies. Share stories of inspiring women on your social pages.
By acting as one we can work to erase oppression, discrimination, injustice and harassment – not just for some women, but for allwomen. Not just on this one day a year, but everyday of the year.
AWWA is committed to fighting the good fight. Join us.
To find out more about International Women’s Day visit www.iwda.org.au.