Since 1913, March 8, Women’s International Day has been celebrated around the world. This special day provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress made to advance women’s equality and emancipation, to assess the challenges facing women in contemporary societies, to consider future steps to enhance the status of women and, of course, to celebrate the gains made in these areas.
Throughout time and especially from the 1600’s and on the female population has been trying to climb the steps of some Ladder of Rights. Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) is touted to be one of the earliest written works about feminism (more pointedly women and education). I just can’t imagine a lifetime when, due to men’s encouragement, women were believed to be overly emotional and too fragile to think properly with clear heads and should only be educated in the pleasure of men.
If it weren’t for those involved in the early beginnings of the feminist social movement, that of promoting women’s rights, interests and issues, I doubt I would be sitting here, typing this to you on my computer in my free country. While the Suffragettes in England were hunger striking and fighting for emancipation, Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby, also known as The Famous Five, were lobbying from Edmonton, Alberta, so that women would be legally viewed as “persons”.
From not that long ago when even highly educated women were oppressed and unequal in their rights to vote to today where women have gone to the moon and have governed countries, International Women’s Day has risen from a grassroots levels to international honor.
While researching this post, I became extremely thankful for those strong minded women who were able to stand up to men and overcome the oppression that they felt. I am not much of an activist, especially in the last few years and I have certainly never been known as a feminist due to my desire to be committed to a spouse for the long haul (read: married) and my desire to raise children in a traditional home (read: Stay At Home Parent). But I do believe that women should have equal rights and should never be regarded to anything less that a man is. I do believe that there is much more to be pro-active about regarding gender equality, but we females have come a heck of a long way.
We no longer lay on our backs only for men, we no longer ‘faint’ at the slightest bit of stress so that men can protect us, we no longer find ourselves penniless and homeless after a marriage of 18 years. We have found our voices and we increase our volume with every year that has passed.