Today is International Women’s Day, the 110-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.
Remembering A Day Without A Woman: The Struggle Continues
In the past, this day has gone by without much fuss. But that changed in 2017 with A Day Without a Woman.
A Day Without A Woman was a strike action held on March 8, 2017, on International Women’s Day. The strike was organized by two different groups—the 2017 Women’s March and a separate International Women’s Strike movement.
The groups asked that women not work that day to protest the policies of the administration of Donald Trump. Planning began before Trump’s November 2016 election. The movement was adopted and promoted by the Women’s March and recommended actions inspired by the “Bodega Strike” and the Day Without Immigrants.
Organizers in the U.S. encouraged women to refrain from working, spending money (or, alternatively, electing to shop only at “small, women- and minority-owned businesses”), and to wear red as a sign of solidarity.
Women of Mexico Stand Up
The movement has spread to Mexico. In what could be the boldest women’s rights action since the #MeToo campaign, many of Mexico’s 21 million registered female workers are expected to stay home from work or school on Monday to protest increased gender violence.
“There’s a momentum, built on what movements have done in other parts of the world,” Edna Jaime, director of the policy think tank México Evalúa, told The Washington Post. “And here, we have reached a worrying level of violence. You can’t hide it anymore.”
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 backward 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?
WNBA WAGE INCREASE
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 former president who is on tape bragging about sexual assault over clearly superior and more qualified woman candidates, to a disrespectful 23 percent wage gap between men and women, it is clear that we have a very long way to go.
The labor battle was just one front for the women of the WNBA. To a large extent, they have stomped loudly and demanded their respect. However, they shouldn’t have to shout so loudly to be heard, especially, when these women have led protest movements, influenced changes in systemic racism that pervade every aspect of our nation and influenced a Senatorial election, and then gained control of team ownership.
The new collective bargaining agreement (signed in 2019) amidst a pandemic, is a good start but on a small scale. It acknowledges that women are generally underpaid in comparison to their male counterparts.
Players feel respected, heard and motivated after reaching an amicable agreement with the league which offers the following:
- Significant increases to player cash compensation and benefits
- Cash Compensation triples to more than half a million dollars for top players
- Enhanced travel standards; expanded career development opportunities; New child care, maternity, and progressive family planning benefits
Hopefully, this new agreement will influence legislation for equal wages on a social level as well.
When women, feminists, activists and their sympathizers participate in “A Day Without a Woman” it’s a general strike for women’s equality. Women around the world 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 coal 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.