International Women’s Day Is Losing Its Symbolism

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Welat Khalil – Yalla

 

Woman. Doesn’t the word remind you of life? Doesn’t it remind you of smiling? Maybe rainbow? Or a drop of water on the leaf of a tree in the morning of a spring day? It reminds most of us of another amazing word; mother. Magnificent. But unfortunately, this beauty keeps staying in our inner world only. We do not let it take over the society to spread peace and harmony. Why? Do we actually not believe in it or is it because we are afraid of its power? For thousands of years, history has been witnessing a specific rivalry beside all others; the gender conflict. International Women’s Day is one of the consequences of this unfortunate battle in which men and women can’t live with nor without having control over each other.

The roots of International Women’s Day could be traced back to the mid-19th century. In March 8, 1857 the female garment workers of New York City protested against the cruel working conditions of the time and demanded less than 12 hours working per day as well as higher wages. As a result of half a century of struggles, the day was officially recognized as International Women’s Day by a number of countries after another historical protest took place in 1908 demanding not only better working conditions, but also the right for women to vote. Although it began as a working-class socialist fight, soon the resistance embraced all the oppressed women around the world.

Today, International (Worker) Women’s Day has to an extent lost its initial meaning. Clearly, the male-dominant society for decades has manipulated the actual purpose of the day and what it essentially stands for. As a result, it has become a day to celebrate women’s role in society. But why would we celebrate such a role? Why would we underestimate this role by rewarding it in only a particular day while women are the ones who actually shape the society? They give life to the society and they make it what it is. International Women’s Day, on the other hand, serves a whole different purpose. It is the symbol of all the struggles that women have gone through and gave their lives for in protests in order to get back all the rights that already belonged to them by birth.

Unfortunately, nowadays, some groups of women around the globe have begun to argue whether such a day is necessary at all. They suggest if women participate in business and political worlds the equality would be gained. It is certainly not true. The realistic solution lies in deeper analysis of the problem. They need to be well aware that not only one day, every day of every year should be a day of resistance until the equality in its real sense belongs to them. A single day doesn’t pass without someone committing violence against women. Women are still the main victims of domestic and sexual violence around the globe. The kidnaping of thousands of Kurdish Yazidi women by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Iraq and hundreds of Nigerian women by Boko Haram as well as the sexual violence that these women are exposed to are the externalization of the subconscious of the dominant system. Educating some women to become engineers, doctors, and politicians in some parts of the world, despite being a positive step, will not be a satisfactory solution to one of the greatest problems human race is facing. It certainly requires so much harder work, more sacrifices and years and years of educational development.

International Women’s Day is a product of the working women who demanded change against the inhumane working conditions. Today these demands are expanded to resistance against inhumane living conditions of all women. But the concept does not seem to be understood quite clearly yet by everyone. The important thing is that women must comprehend the meaning of the word ‘international’ in the name of this important day. The fight must go on until every woman is as free as every man in every corner of the world. And the men who understand this struggle should take responsibility in order to have a share in ending this discrimination and violence. Because human race will not reach harmony if it does not allow women to spread love and peace. This year don’t give a mimosa flower to a woman, let her blossom like one herself…

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