Feminist Superheros: International Women's Day

Feminist Superheros: International Women's Day

Female protesters in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) on 8 March 1917. Photograph: Fototeca Storica Nazionale/Getty Images

Female protesters in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) on 8 March 1917. Photograph: Fototeca Storica Nazionale/Getty Images

By Mariah McCloskey

Snow falls on their eyelashes as their cold fingers curl around their signs; unbeknownst to these women, their protest will pave the way for a crucial element in the fight for equality: International Woman’s Day. Despite the cold and the snow, these early feminists stood in the center of the Russian capital on March 8, 1917, protesting unfair treatment of soldiers and their families. The “strike for bread and peace” revolution was begun by wholly by women, proving to the world that no man was needed.

International Women’s Day was created to celebrate women and have candid conversations about how to create equality for future generations of women. This year the theme is, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change,” putting innovation by women and girls for women and girls, at the heart of efforts to achieve gender equality. Looking back no organization claims credit for creating this powerhouse of a holiday, and yet it has become internationally celebrated, proving that when women get together they can do anything.

International Women’s Day has led to widespread female education, female health services, equal opportunity in the workplace, and both body and voice liberation. In 1948 the United Nations created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stating that everyone had the oppertunity and the need to be treated equally, regardless of race, religion, or gender. This was official documentation that women were people, and in addition, people deserving of basic human rights. While not all nations adhear to the UN’s standards, it was a huge milestone for the fighting feminists.

International Women’s Day’s legacy remains steeped in the struggle for women’s rights, an element that has gained renewed relevance in recent years. Though many from the younger generations may feel like all the battles have been won for women, many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy.

Because of all the progress heroic heroines have made, International Women’s Day has come to be marked increasingly with celebration and support than protests and hatred. It celebrates women and gives them the opportunity to speak candidly about problems facing womankind. With the rise of social media and the #MeToo movement that has taken women's rights to a global dimension.

Feminist superheroes have flown over the house of the patriarchy and raised the female flag, creating safe passage for those behind them. International Women’s Day claims independence and power for women, it creates a safe place for those who feel that they don’t have any. It has brought together every feminist on the spectrum and harnessed their power, and this year will be no different.

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