International Women’s Day


Riley Halliday

“We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back”-Malala Yousafzai.

Today, like women a hundred years before us, we celebrate International Women’s day.  

This year’s theme: Pledge For Parity. This came about due to some recent and concerning news, the World Economic Forum predicts we are still a century away from closing the gender-gap. According to the ONE campaign, “Nowhere on earth do women have as many opportunities as men”

Before highlighting the importance of this day and the people who have given such importance to it, let’s begin with what International Women’s day is not.

Today is not a day to give women “special treatment”. A restaurant in Mumbai thinks differently though, as they have been handing out discounts to women for wearing their highest heels to dine in. In countries such as Russia, International Women’s day has lost it’s meaning. Rather, it has become a cross between Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

Save the flowers and chocolates for the Hallmark Holidays, today is a day for women’s empowerment, and for remembering those who have fought and are still fighting in the battle of equality.

Although social media has taken a liking to portraying feminism as a joke, let’s look at some women who are definitely no joke.

Hedy Lamarr: Australian and American actress, did far more than act. In fact, she and composer George Antheil invented the “Secret Communication System”, originally used for secure military missions in WWII, the technology is still used in our wifi today.

Coco Chanel: In the 1920s, Coco Chanel made a lasting impact on women’s fashion. Up until the time women were expected to wear restrictive clothing, which always included a full length skirt. Chanel challenged the idea of women dressing only for the admiration of men and created simpler, more practical clothing. She was the first designer to introduce trousers and pants suits to women.

Wangari Maathai: In 2004 Maathai became the first African Woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. As a Kenyan environmental activist, she founded the Green Belt Movement in the 1970s. This movement sought to promote environmental conservation in Kenya and Africa.

Margaret Heafield Hamilton: At the age of 24, and at a time when women were not encouraged to participate in the technical working field, Hamilton hand wrote the coding that launched the Apollo mission; taking humanity to the moon.

Malala Yousafzai: The youngest nobel peace prize winner in history, Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education. Her family runs a chain of schools in Swat Valley Pakistan, and at the age of 11 Yousafzai began a blog describing life in Swat Valley under the threat of the Taliban. In October of 2012, Malala was shot by a gunman and as she recovered in a hospital in England her and her father’s life were threatened by the Taliban. Today, Malala has become a voice for female education, women’s rights, and children’s rights.

Of course this is only a small sliver of the women who have dedicated their lives to bettering the world in all aspects. There is no limit to what we as humans can accomplish, and gender is no barrier to that limit.

Check out our previous article on Menism Vs. Male Oppression to learn what feminism is and isn’t about:

Today is not a holiday,  it is not a time to shower a woman with discounts and presents because it’s “her” day. Today is a reminder of the dedication women have put forth in changing the world, today is reliving the reality women have lived with for hundreds of years. Today is a day to continue to support the work of women challenging barriers, making changes, and working towards a better tomorrow, for everyone. Let’s not let this progress slow down.

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