The 8th of March of every year is a day dedicated to the salutation of women as exceptional human beings.
Back in the cold, grey winters of Petrograd (now St. Petersburg, Russia) in 1917, conditions were grim. For the poor, you see.
The cities layout was clearly divided, and when famine struck in February, the poor peasants living on the right side of the River Neva could only longingly stare at fantastic Winter Palace of the Tsar. That infuriated them. On the 22nd of February, the Tsar’s underlings locked a factory out on the poor people’s bank of the River Neva. Power struggles between them and the Duma (council assemblies) were at play, but as always, the poor would pay. On the following day, workers across the city began to strike. Most of them were women, and that was to be designated International Women’s Day.
Hold on, isn’t it on the 8th of March?
It is, but that was because in 1857, female garment workers picketed in New York against unfair working privileges for women, and in 1908, women working as needle traders rallied again for better working conditions. On that date.
And also because the newly-formed People’s Republic of China decided on the 23rd of December that it should be commemorated on that day.
You see, the origins of International Women’s Day go back decades, and they are stuck in the histories of every single country in the world. Different countries have different dates for it, but many countries have even separated the holiday and made one specifically for their own women. That is how much women’s day is valued around the world.
In some places, it is seen as a day to celebrate the strength of females and their achievements and conquests. In other places, it is seen as a day of appreciation for women and to show them love and cherish them. It is simply a day when the world gives women the chance to sit down and be praised for their femininity.
On its 100th anniversary, in 2011, celebrations around the world included charitable events and rallies and parades all in the honour of women everywhere. International organizations dedicated to the smoothening of women’s lives went into overdrive to make sure that things would go well for them.
The date is one of the most important in the calendar of humanity because it shows that humans may sometimes be stupid and do things wrongly, but that we learn. By ending the cruel abuse of women, we made more progress in 100 years than we’d done in millennia of existence. Finally, the human race was running at 100% (no pun intended).
That’s why every effort is being made to end the very last vestiges of gender inequality everywhere. Anytime women are seen suffering, action has to be taken and that’s what this day promotes – action against the abuse of women.
And although most people celebrate the day, there are places where it has been marred by exactly the kind of thuggish violence that we’re trying to eradicate. In Cairo (2011) and Tehran (2007), men (policemen in the latter) came out to beat women and men planning rallies and parades in celebration of women’s rights. They attacked peaceful crowds for wanting to celebrate the day that half of humanity has been granted. How backwards is that?
It is because of people like that that women’s day is celebrated. It is a toast to the defeat of sexists and bigots, and despite every effort they’ll make to ban the day (as was attempted in Czechoslovakia in 2008) or ruin it, it is adamant that those that respect women’s rights keep it thriving.
Because evolution is progressive, not cyclical.
Women have gone through a very bad phase in history but it is done now and we need to make sure that we never go back to the dark days of yesteryear. Forgetting the lessons of history and how it was escaped often leads to a repeat of the same mistakes. Women’s Day was made to permanently remind ourselves that once upon a time, humanity did not perceive its full value and let itself down. Now, we’re getting closer and closer to perfection, and we should just keep going the way we are and improving our society. Not go back to the unforgiving habits of old.
It was also made to remind ourselves that despite being very close, we’re not there yet. Too many women are still living miserable, unjust lives. You may have a neighbour right now who is living in pain but is quiet because she doesn’t fully grasp her own importance. You may be that person yourself. If you are, then snap out of it – you’re just as good as a man. You have the right to be free, and you have to right to fight for your liberty.
Women’s Day is a date that was made to kick the human race awake and remind itself that we’re truly something special, unique and beautiful. And to remind ourselves that women are a big part of that.