Words | Elizabeth Laughton
The 8th of March marked International Women’s Day. Some observed the day with community breakfasts, others with a political march.
Since the first International Women’s Day march in 1909, event organisers have been increasingly haunted by an uncomfortable question: is International Women’s Day cause for celebration or commiseration?
Some suggest the former. Women occupy twenty-five percent of the seats in national parliaments. One hundred-thirty one countries have passed acts in favour of gender equality over the last decade. Abortion has been made easier to access in about fifty countries over the last twenty-five years.
Others suggest the latter. Approximately one woman is murdered by a current or former partner every week in Australia. Women do up to three times more uncompensated domestic labour than their partners, and one in every three Australian women has experienced inappropriate sexual encounters.
This year, you may have seen the hashtag, #eachforequal, floating around on social media as this year’s theme. Unfortunately, this theme is just a promotional branding for a company that sells unofficial International Women’s Day merch. The actual theme, as set by the United Nations, is “I am Generation Equality”. This theme is nestled within the United Nation’s focus on multigenerational activism and progress this year.
“I am Generation Equality” poses one answer to the aforementioned question. We can use International Women’s Day to be empowered by the work women have done before us. We should also use the day to aspire for the next generation, and set up an action plan for the future.