Today is International Women’s Day, the 106-year-old celebration that first took place in the United States in 1911. This month, The Shadow League has been featuring profiles and editorials meant to pay homage to women from a myriad of backgrounds and disciplines who have changed the world with their ingenuity, expertise, skill and brilliance.
The modern Women’s History Month was actually spawned from International Women’s Day. In the past, this day has gone by without much fuss. But that’s changing this year with A Day Without a Woman.
It should be noted that it is shameful that such a day needs to exist. Where would we all be without women? The academic answer is nonexistent, but it goes beyond academia and into the very heart of what it means to be human. Let’s get this straight, women aren’t the lesser of anything!
The shameful part about it is in men denying rights, respect and dignity to women, we’re saying our mothers, daughters, wives and sisters don’t deserve the same thing we would readily give ourselves, nor what we would demand for ourselves. Wars have been fought by men for hundreds of thousands of years over rights, respect and dignity.
Much like Black History Month, simply penning these words are a reminder that our Western society is still a toddler in wisdom and practice. But it is not unlike other societies spiraling backwards through time on the distant beaches of our beginnings, carelessly splashing into the rough and turbulent seas of historic patriarchal dominance.
But our ship has not sunken. Just beyond the horizon there is a harbor of sanity. There has to be. Or why sail at all?
Each generation, a daring group of women and men continue pushing us toward that shelter. We have seen in our lifetimes how strong that force can be. But contemporary gender inequality, as well as deep rooted misogyny, are apparent.
From our nation’s willingness to elect a president who is on tape bragging about sexual assault over clearly superior and more qualified woman candidate, to a disrespectful 23 percent wage gap between men and women, it is clear that we have a very long way to go.
Across the nation, women, feminists, activists and their sympathizers are participating in A Day Without a Woman, a protest action against President Donald J. Trump and a general strike for women’s equality. Hoping to continue upon the success of the women’s March on Washington, scholars and activists believe it is the perfect time to do so.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that steady pressure over time is what turns a dusty piece of carbon into a diamond. We’re still that dusty piece of coal but a diamond we will eventually be.
Happy International Women’s Day to all those who believe the same.