International Women’s Day: A day to fight against inequalities not to toast

Barbara Debout

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International Women's Day March - Los Angeles - credit photo (flickr) Molly Adams
International Women’s Day March – Los Angeles – credit photo (flickr) Molly Adams

Known by everyone as a day to struggle for the respect of women rights, the 8th of March is often hijacked for commercial purposes. Unfortunately, the least that can be said, those offers are usually sexist…

It’s in a tense atmosphere, where the hashtags “#metoo“ & “#Timesup“ are omnipresent on media stream that we start out the International women’s day. This particularly important situation means that a large part of the population is more educated on inequalities since the Weinstein Case. In theory. This morning, it’s with astonishment, that we discovered an offer merely provocative from the Irish shop Mr Price provided by the website Evening Echo: “Each Irish store will give away one hamper to the first woman to share this ‘Happy International Women’s Day“.

MrPrice Women’s Day – credit photo – MrPrice

“In honour of International Women’s Day, we at Mr Price wanted to take this opportunity to give back to our female customers all over Ireland,” says Joe Williams, marketing manager in locum.
Where tenders are not provocative, they are satirical. It’s the case of one created by the beer company BrewDog. The Scottish fabricant has fallen flat with their women’s beer surrounded by a pink sticker.

BrewDog Campaign - credit photo - BrewDog
BrewDog Campaign – credit photo – BrewDog

When those offers don’t post sarcasm, it’s purely marketing. It’s almost impossible to identify the number of commercial suggestions such as « buy one nail colour (pink obviously), get the other for free » or « send flowers for women’s day – save 50% ». Eva George, involved in her local Dublin South Central Repeal campaign and a reading & research group focused on Social Reproduction Theory and Marxist Feminism, explains why we can’t toast for Women’s Day : “If we lived in an equal society that celebrated women of all race and class then I don’t think there would be any confusion – International Women’s Day would be a day to celebrate. But we don’t. We live in a deeply unequal society which systematically discriminates against it’s marginalised members. While I think it’s good and helpful to celebrate women (yay), I think the space that’s afforded to us on International Women’s Day should be used to shout for those who aren’t heard.“

Under these circumstances, let’s raise a point on Women’s day

International Women’s Day has been created to force the world to recognise inequalities. The movement started with the suffragettes, in the early 1900s. The first Women’s Day which has been celebrated on March 8th was in 1913 and the United Nations recognised it in 1975. That day was created on a militant perspective. It was the occasion to reaffirm the importance to struggle for women’s rights and to pay tribute in favour of the social and politic recognition of women. Eva George said, “International Women’s Day is a moment to take stock and celebrate all the ground that has been gained in the fight for equality, and a moment to refocus our attention on the forms of oppression, and the sources of these oppressions, which persist.“ Notably, 2018 is a decisive year for feminism in Ireland. Will take place the Repeal the Eighth campaign, and the coming referendum on amending the constitution to permit abortion. Most of the events are related to the poll, the young feminist reached “The most crucial fight on a local level is repealing the eight amendment which disproportionately affects women“.

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Barbara Debout