With tomorrow marking International Women’s Day, we have everything you need to know; from origins and events, to feminists to follow and what you can do to make a change.
HOW DID IT COME ABOUT?
An event notably held on March 8th, International Women’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1900s as an event that calls for social and political gender equality. The UN only recognised it as a day in 1975, and since then each year has carried a particular theme, with this year about #BeBoldForChange with focus on the gender pay gap. Governments, organisations and charities come together on this day with a united front and a clear message- equality for all.
WHAT'S HAPPENING TOMORROW?
Want to do something to mark the event tomorrow? Find out what’s going on in your local area, or attend these events:
HeforShe Arts Week
With the idea of art influencing culture and behaviour, UN Women, a United Nations organisation dedicated to gender equality, is holding an Arts Week which runs from 8th- 15th March. From Paris to Panama City, events and installations will be held around the world so click here to find out what’s going on near you.
Tinder’s #BeBoldForChange Art Installation
In and around London? Don’t miss Tinder’s celebratory event from 8am-8pm on Wednesday, which is hosting feminist artist and filmmaker Charlotte Colbert and her husband Philip’s work at the Observation Point in Southbank. Women are invited to go down and leave an inspirational message for another woman, while taking one for themselves to promote positivity.
Irish Women are Striking Over Abortion Laws
International Women’s Day holds special significance for Irish women who are striking against the laws put into place in 1983 that granted ‘personhood’ to a foetus and outlawed abortion. This meant more were forced to look to other methods, from heading to the UK for an abortion, to purchasing dangerous pills online. Strike 4 Repeal have organised the strike and details are here.
Women of the World Festival
From 7th-12th March, the Southbank Centre in London plays host to WOW- Women of the World festival that celebrates the achievements of women and girls around the world. Grab a programme and listen to guest speakers (they’ve had people like Malala Yousafzai, Julie Walters, Annie Lennox and Salma Hayek in the past) with day and weekend passes available for these one-off events.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Tomorrow everyone is encouraged to come together to support the theme #BeBoldForChange, and you can get involved with Women’s March’s A Day Without a Woman. Back in 1975, the women of Iceland went on strike for the day; refusing to cook, work or look after the children. That moment changed the way the country looked at their female population and helped put gender equality at the forefront of the country's concerns.
Fast forward to today and Women’s March’s A Day Without a Woman are looking to do a similar thing. Women around the world are being urged to use the 8th March to highlight the impact they have on the global economy and on the daily functions of life.
Women of all backgrounds not only get paid less, but are also subject to discrimination, harassment and job insecurity. Anyone, anywhere can make a difference the following three ways:
1. Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labour
2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
3. Wear red in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman- red is a symbol of revolutionary love and sacrifice.
Use the #BeBoldForChange Hashtag
Show your support on social media using the above hashtag. Get your friends together to show their solidarity to the cause- let’s close that gender pay gap.
FEMINISTS TO FOLLOW
Celebrating what it means to be a woman and our fight for equality doesn’t have to be reserved for International Women’s Day alone.
Here are some inspirational figures to have on your social feeds now:
Rowan Blanchard (top left)
At the tender age of 15, actress Rowan Blanchard is making serious waves for equality. Her articulate manner and intelligent stance on subjects has seen her write essays on the subject for the UN and she is using her fame to inspire girls of her generation. Follow her on social media as she tackles issues of racism and sexism. “ I believe in my generation. I believe in girls. I believe in women. I believe in people of color [sic]. I believe in LGBTQ+ community. I believe.”
Yoko Ono (top middle)
She’s most notable for her peaceful protests with John Lennon, but Yoko Ono has been a voice for equality for a number of years. She wrote an essay called The Feminization of Society back in 1972 which helped mark the female revolution of the 70s and she continues with her work today.
Tavi Gevinson (top right)
20 year-old founder of Rookie Magazine Tavi Gevinson is a self-made creative who started her blog The Style Rookie when she was just 12. From Ted Talks to roles on-screen, her work often centres around female culture and the importance of feminism in the fashion and art world.
Malala Yousafzai (bottom left)
A courageous 19-year old who wrote a memoir about her difficult journey as a young student in Pakistan, Malala has been tirelessly travelling the world to campaign for the educational rights of women and young children ever since.
Emma Watson ( bottom middle)
A voice for the current generation, actress Emma Watson has used her fame as a platform for feminism. From her moving UN speeches to her #HeForShe campaign and her very own feminist book club, the star is showing us what it means to be a feminist today.
Annie Lennox (bottom right)
A long standing campaigner for women’s rights amongst her other causes, singer Annie Lennox is a tireless supporter and is never afraid to voice her controversial views on the meaning of feminism to her. Last weekend saw her leading the #March4Womenin London where she told the Evening Standard that Trump’s recent remarks "actually catalysed the issue" [of gender equality for] "a lot of girls and women”.
Photo Credit: Rex, Getty, Instagram, Women's March, Strike 4 Repeal.