International Women’s Day: March 8th is not pink
Translated by Elisavet Kechagia
Based on the original article by Penny Koufonikolakou
It is the 8th of March 1857; female workers of the textile industry of New York are flowing out into the streets demanding the very basics. Non-stop 16 hour work looms over the everyday reality, the earnings are merely petty cash and the gap between men and women, as far as working rights go, seems insurmountable. And in response they are met with terrorism by their employers. Mass layoffs and threats obstruct the movement, but they keep on undeterred and “resistance” officially becomes a female business.
Today, the 8th of March turns pink. It has been transformed into a day of showcasing female charm and is, by extension, robbed of its true essence. Female friend groups grasp the opportunity to have fun. They celebrate their woman nature, accept gifts, much like another Valentine’s day, and blast typical male mistakes that “break their spirit”. Night clubs turn into hotspots for women, and the whole day loses its meaning. My aim is not to criticize this way of celebrating. Besides, when presented with the opportunity to have fun, one should grasp it. This day however, is no celebration. It is an anniversary, a memorial day that can inspire the termination of all injustice and inequality that still persist to this day.
The fact that even today, obstacles are raised in the professional career path of women, in stark comparison to that of men, still mystifies society as a whole. On many occasions, there are substantial differences in earnings, while leading roles are predominantly male. The progress that has been made is great and “female acquisitions” are inspiring. However, obsolete measures and decisions are still made to our expense, adjusted to fit the modern era. For example, the prospect of a working mother shouldn’t constitute a limiting factor in her hiring process, nor in her promotion to a position of responsibility. Quite the contrary, it ought to be regarded as an indicator of their day to day heroism and their small feat of strength, and the fact that they manage to survive and distinguish themselves professionally, all the while assuming the biggest responsibility of all, that of raising a child.
It is with sorrow and mainly with puzzlement, as to why meritocracy is such a rare thing in society, that I quote a phrase by some American actors: “How different things are, if you are not a white man and not working in Hollywood”.
All of the above constitute struggles of the Western civilization that can be bridged. The road will be rough, but total gender equalization is in no way impossible. The true, hard and substantial change lies, and is most needed, in Third world countries. Being a woman there is considered to be wrong, and the practices and means to the solution of this “problem” reach the limits of paranoia. It is quite indicative that they have sayings such as the following: “Raising a daughter is like watering your neighbor’s garden”.
Τhe 8th of March should be a source of inspiration, a source of pride in being women. It should become the spark that brings about change!