International Women’s Day (IWD) is not just a celebration, it is a reminder. Of the work, rage, power, and dedication still required to achieve gender equity and to advocate for the rights of all women and girls. Today, women and allies are aligned in expressing fury about the oppression and violence we continue to face across the world, and how our systems fail to disrupt these harmful realities and protect all women and girls. If you weren’t doing so already, now is the time to listen to the calls of leaders seeking gender equity and take up action.
IWD invites us to actively reexamine systems, processes, relationships, and policies that create barriers for women every day. It calls us to address misogyny, patriarchy, sexism, gender-based violence, and toxic gender-based power dynamics at play in our institutions, workplaces, educational systems and spaces, communities, neighbourhoods, and homes.
IWD reminds us to always challenge regressive cisgender and heteronormative ideologies that hamper 2SLBTQ+ women from living safe and authentic lives. It is a celebration of womanhood in its beautiful diversity – and it reminds us to challenge trans-exclusionary radical feminism and take up feminism that is truly rooted in the inclusion of ALL women.
We honour the brilliance and labour of Black and Indigenous women, women of colour, and trans women. We honour Mahsa Amini, and the women of Iran who are fighting for the most fundamental human rights while grieving Mahsa’s loss. We honour the many ways in which women continue to show up, mobilize, organize, and both lead and occupy the frontlines of our movements, not just in our city and country, but the world round.
IWD is a call to action to honour women’s autonomy. A call for women to freely make decisions impacting our lives, free from prejudice, risk of violence, or coercion. IWD reminds us of the imperative for women to have control of their bodies, their reproductive rights, and their sexual pleasure and well-being. For women to be free from religious bigotry. For women to know true safety and have meaningful platforms to be heard in the face of violence, and to have a voice at decision-making tables when it comes to seeking justice.
Finally, IWD represents that ongoing dream – a dream of living in a world where women do not struggle to access opportunity or seek refuge from violence, poverty, or trauma. It is a world that celebrates all women with warmth and without question or judgment.
Don’t give us flowers and wish us a Happy Women’s Day today. Instead, commit to making this a safer, just, joyful, and more equitable world for all women every single day.