I was a little surprised to say in the least when I saw the image emblazened on the Google home page and the message “Happy International Women’s Day!” jumped out at me when I switched my computer on this morning.
It’s not a day I’ve heard of before, and it’s not one I celebrate as a matter of course.
I have to admit, as a modern western woman, I found the idea of a “women’s day” a little patronising. It got my back up rather. The energy of the day felt all wrong to me.
I for one do not consider myself a charity case because I’m a woman, or in need of a “special day” and I have to admit that I felt the righteous indignation rising in me when I found out about it.
I decided to research the history of the day, and sure enough it was originally called International Working Women’s Day and had its origins in 1909 to support the very much oppressed women of the day, to help promote suffrage and equal rights for women.
All well and good, but is it still relevant in this day and age? Women aren’t oppressed in my country. We have equal rights and equal opportunities. Do I really still need a “Day” to remember that we used to be 2nd class citizens, like a hundred years ago?
I spoke to some of my colleagues, to see how they felt about it, and opinions were divided.
Some felt is was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all things feminine, and enjoy a day of “girl power” but funnily enough, others, like myself (and interestingly all the men I spoke to) felt alienated, and saw it as rather patronising. The guys in particular didn’t like it, because they felt it implied that men were vilified as oppressors of women.
Another point made was ironically from an equality point of view. There’s no International Men’s day, so why is there still a Women’s day?
Does this sort of day still have a place in our modern world or is it just yet another outdated relic from another era?
The flip side of the coin, is that the day is used to highlight the plight of women less fortunate than myself in other countries, who are still exploited, oppressed or abused because of gender inequality.
Whilst I’m aware that sadly this is still an issue in many parts of the world, I can’t help but feel the energy behind the day in question is a negative one, and it’s not one that resonates with me.
At the risk of being shot down in flames, I do feel it could be modernised to encourage people to celebrate and promote equality rather than making men out to be the “bad guys” for a day.
How about a day that feels loving, includes everyone and encourages people to spread the love rather than dividing the genders once again, and putting people back into the old-fashioned camps of boys versus girls?
A more positive name like International Equality Day gets my vote. How about you?