PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

International Women's Day: what are we really celebrating?

International Women's Day is celebrated on the 8th of March every year since the early 1900s  Although great progress has been made, the problem of gender inequality still persists and the date plays an important role as a reminder of everything that has been done for women’s rights and all that still needs to be worked on.

The first National Woman’s day, was organised on February 28th, 1909, by the Socialist Party of America. In 1910, the leader of the German Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party, Clara Zetkin, proposed the idea of a global International Women’s Day, thus on March 19th, 1911, the first International Women’s day was held.

What are we really celebrating? And why should we thank the feminist movement?

Sometimes you hear people criticise feminism without knowing the benefits we have gained from their battles.
Here are some of the things we are celebrating on this day:

  • Being recognised as a person in the eyes of the law. Being legally a person means that you are nobody’s property, able to own property which cannot be taken off of you.
  • Being able to vote. Thanks to the suffragettes, women have the legal right to decide for themselves who should run their country.
  • Education. Do you like going to school like your fellow male friends? Well, guess who you need to thank for that?
  • Work. Having a job and being financially independent.

Virginia Woolf in A Room of One’s Own highlighted the importance of being financially independent because it is the element that prevents women from achieving their intellectual freedom.

The bottom line is: if we are here enjoying our well-earned properties, your right to vote etc, we should thank those women who fought for us, who were arrested and endured violence.

So, whether you are a feminist or not, we should at least recognise the greatness of these women who fought for the rights and for the freedom that a lot of us take for granted nowadays.

We still have a long way to go though:  Only six countries in the world give women and men equal legal work rights.  Apparently just Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden were the only countries in the world to have a perfect score for gender equality in laws affecting work.

So let’s keep up the good work!


by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Gender is not an easy conversation to have. It makes people uncomfortable, sometimes even irritable. Both men and women are resistant to talk about gender, or are quick to dismiss the problems of gender. Because thinking of changing the status quo is always uncomfortable.

Some people ask: "Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?" Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general - but to choose to use the vague expression of human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women. That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human. For centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups and then proceeded to exclude and oppress one group. It is only fair that the solution to the problem acknowledge that”.

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Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.


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