International Women’s Day 2021

Does it make sense nowadays to celebrate the 8th of March as  International Women’s Day? It’s been over 110 years since Clara Zetkin proposed to establish  Working Women’s day, and more that 40 years since the United Nations declared the International Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. Societies have evolved in the past century. Women can vote, have their own passports, study, become Prime Ministers, go to the moon, decide if and when to get married and/or have kids, women and men are equal before the law. So, what’s the point? The point is that even though on the surface everything looks right, we still have underlying social, cultural and legal barriers that prevent women from thriving.

It is a pity that some people cannot see women’s potential and block their access to certain jobs or high-level positions. This is why we jointly want to work on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 on Gender Equality. 

It is frustrating that women still carry most of the burden of caring for the family and the domestic tasks even though they work as much as their partners do. This is why we fought for a work-life balance directive.

It is absurd that women earn less than men for the same task. This is why we welcome the idea of EU Pay Transparency Directive.

It is unethical that, despite of the fact that we acknowledged during the covid-19 pandemic that some of the most essential tasks, like cleaning and caring for the elderly, were carried out by women, in many cases undocumented migrants, they are still getting paid miserably low wages and sometimes work under inhuman conditions.  This is why we need an EU Adequate Minimum Wage Directive and the countries to ratify the C189 ILO convention on domestic workers.

It is unacceptable that some women are asked to “pay” an intimate price in order to get a promotion at work or get bullied just because some people need a subordinate to let off steam. This is why it is more urgent that ever for countries to ratify the ILO convention C190 on violence and harassment at work.

It is outrageous that women are getting killed and raped every day and that there are people who justify it saying “she asked for it” or “imagine what she did to provoke him”.  This is why we must fight for a robust education for the youngest boys and girls on equality and respect, agile judiciary systems and social schemes to support the women victims of domestic violence.

It is still very relevant that feminist women and men, take a stand, advocate and push for policy and cultural changes so as to achieve effective equal opportunities for everyone. Until we are in a position to celebrate the “International Gender Equality Day”, let us keep commemorating  International Women’s day.