8th of March: the International Women’s Day

7 Mar

Tomorrow, on Thursday, this is the International Women’s Day. A bit of History:

The 8th of March, 1857, in New York, was the first time the women workers of the industry of garments held protest rallies for better conditions of work, and so the respect of their dignity.

It is in Copenhagen, in 1910, during the 2nd international conference of the socialist women, that Clara Zetkin (journalist, teacher and German Politician) suggested, for the first time, to organize an “International Women’s Day” to be used to the propaganda for the vote of the women. The conference gathered hundred women came from 17 countries, and adopted immediately this proposal, inspired by workers’ rallies which took place in the United States in 1908 and in 1909.

On March 1911, for the first time, over one million of women participated in rallies in Europe, in demand for the right to vote, women’s right to work, to hold public office, to vocational training and to end discrimination on the job.

As a part of the peace movement just before the WWI, women in Russia observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday of February, 1913.

In Europe, on March 1914, women held protest rallies against the war and to express solidarity.

It was again in 1917 that Russian women protested and called a strike for “Bread and Peace” on the last Sunday of February (Gregorian calendar), which was the 8th of March (Julian calendar). The Czar of Russia resigned and the interim government granted the right to vote to women.

But it was only in 1975 that the United Nations declared the 8th of March as the International Women’s Day.

In 1995, 189 governments signed the choice for women to participate in politics, having an income, getting an education, and living in a society free from discrimination and violence.

What has changed since the beginning?

Are the women better treated than in the previous centuries? Yes, of course, even things have to be still improved in many countries. The right to be equal to men is still a claim, in terms of income, jobs, and dignity. The women have to show constantly they can be equal to men. So being born a woman is seen as a handicap in many countries over the world.

How to make things change?

Our society is ruled by men. Their power is so strong and kept so tightened, that it’s hard for the women to get a part of it. It’s not just the right to vote, to have a job which drives women to accomplish their life and their future, but also the fact they’ve got the right to be respected and seen for what they are: different from men, but their allies.

The women want to live, work and build the future along the men, taking part of their success, being associated with the big projects. Going to the Uni, having a degree and a good job isn’t enough: they want to be respected and truly go further without having to make the choice between being a mother and a good worker. They want to be congratulated too, not for their good work only, but also because they are a good mother.

They want to dress as they like without being offended in the street. They want to change the customs and traditions of their country which prevent them from studying or being free to go with the man they love. They want their kids to grow in a pacific world, because they know the price they’ll have to pay because of a war. They want to live the life they dream of.

So what’s wrong with that? Who can be disturbed by such simple demands?  Who will be the winner?

Actually, men don’t even know what all these claims will bring them in terms of comfort, dignity and respect in our societies. What about a social model where women would walk hand in hand with men? Solidarity would replace sexism, respect would be the norm, and equality would give the best to all. It would be a win-win victory, something we could call “the great step for the future generations”.

I know I haven’t the same strength than a man. I know I’m more sensitive than a man. I know I prefer the softness than rudeness. But I need to breathe oxygen, eat and love like any man. I can’t have babies without the spermatozoa of a man, and I need a man to repair my car. The complementary is one of the best things between men and women. So stop thinking we couldn’t live according to that principle.

So another way to change things between women and men is the role a mother has to play in her son’s life. Mothers, you have to educate your son in the respect of the girls. Later, in the future, he will be a gentleman, a good boss, a kind employee or a perfect dad: a respectul man of women.

Almost all, don’t give up your feminity on the shrine of any work: you’ve got that right too, being who you are, according to the fundamental principle of the right to be different.

So before you ask me: yes, there is an International Men’s Day, since 1997. This is the 19th of November. That day has been created to value men for their “ordinary” and “positive” contributions in the fields of health, environment, family and education, and also for sex equality. So it shows us again, how women and men are made to live in the complementary, isn’t it?

I wish you, Ladies, a very good International Women’s Day, hoping that a time will come over when this special day is not useful anymore.

Love,

Jane

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