On Sunday, March 8, the world celebrated International Women’s Day. This annual day is meant to recognize women’s rights movements and is celebrated differently across the world.
In some countries, International Women’s Day is a day in which people honor those who have fought for women’s rights in the past. In many other countries, however, it is a day full of protesting for women’s rights and what we have still not achieved.
It is 2020, and no country in the world can say that they have total gender equality. This is depressing — gender equality is something that is long overdue, and people have been fighting for it for years. In many countries, in order to get this point across, women took to the streets to fight for their rights, calling attention to one thing in particular: violence against women.
In Pakistan, many held up posters and chanted the phrase “my body, my choice” in order to fight against much of the violence — physical and structural — that women face. The phrase was also especially meant to draw attention to honor killings, which is generally when a male relative murders a female relative for bringing so-called shame upon the family. Others demanded to know the fate of other female activists who had supposedly “disappeared.”
The protests were not met with completely positive reactions; certain groups of people threw stones and mud at the protestors, also hurling insults at them.
The idea of equality should not be so radical. The protests around the world are completely valid in their purpose of bringing attention to the violence and inequality that women face. Part of the purpose of International Women’s Day is to call attention to gender inequality, after all. One of the best ways to do this is to protest in a way that people will notice.
Ending violence against women should not be such an absurd idea. It is ridiculous that people have had to create such elaborate protests to call attention to and combat something like violence against women — something that people should already be aware of and should already be fighting against.
In Mexico, women protested in order to call attention to the rising levels of femicide. Femicide is defined as the killing of women because of their gender. Unfortunately, in Mexico, the number of femicides has been increasing in recent years. The protests carried over into Monday, March 9, when thousands of women began a nationwide strike, not going to school and work, in order to show people what it would be like in the city if there were no women.
Protests with the purpose of combatting violence against women occurred in many more places worldwide, such as the U.K., Chile, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan and many other places.
Violence against women should not be a normal occurrence, and protests like the ones that occurred on Sunday will not let it be. More people should be aware of this issue and how it impacts so many. Violence against women can take many forms, such as the honor killings and femicide that are aforementioned, but also in other ways such as sexual violence, female infanticide, controlling women’s bodies and many other ways. This needs to stop.
The protests around the world on International Women’s Day are very much needed, no matter what the opposition believes. All people deserve to be equal, regardless of gender.
International Women’s Day is a day that celebrates women and recognizes women’s rights movements. However, it is also a day that we reflect and realize that the fight for equality has not gone far enough. As long as women around the world are facing this kind of disproportionate violence, we are not all equal.
Anika Veeraraghav is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.