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origins of a struggle that continues

To mark International Women’s Day is to understand a long struggle, still ongoing, which began more than a century ago. At least…

International Women’s Day is no longer an invention of the commerce industry, always looking for a more or less ridiculous date, more or less imported, to make the business grow.

No, on the 8th of March the flowers have the power of daggers and are reminders of a fight that is far from being won.

Gender equality is a discussion that has won its media space, but the truth is that the path is winding and full of obstacles.

The abyss of salary differences between men and women persists, motherhood continues to be seen as a professional obstacle, leadership positions are always occupied, in the overwhelming majority, by men.

Much has been done, much remains to be done. But how did this day come about?

international women’s day: story of a struggle

It is necessary to go back to February 26, 1909, and to the city of new Yorkto find the zero moment of what would become International Women’s Day.

It was on that day that a large demonstration of women took place, it is said that around 15 thousand, where the right to vote for women and better working conditions was claimed, since at the dawn of the 20th century, women worked in days that could reach at 4 pm, six days a week. And it often lasted until Sunday, with natural effects on family life.

Dispute in Europe

This protest movement was already making its way in Europe, namely in the factories of the most industrialized countries, and it was during the Women’s Conference of the Socialist International, held in Copenhagen in 1910, that International Women’s Day began to take shape.

Clara Zetkin, historical figure of feminism and one of the founders and directors of Socorro Vermelho Internacional, suggested that women’s day be marked every year. However, a date has not yet been set.

It was precisely on March 8, 1917 that women in Russia took to the streets once again, in protest against high prices, unemployment and increasingly precarious living conditions in the country of the tsars. The male workers joined the struggle, which would eventually precipitate the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

It would take close to 60 years for the United Nations to institute, in 1975, the 8th of March as International Women’s Day, a date marked in almost every country in the world.

Almost, because there are still regions where this day is olympicly ignored and where women’s rights are extremely limited, if not non-existent.

Female emancipation is still far from being a reality in many areas of the world

Present (still) gloomy

Countries like Saudi Arabia, where women have controlled movements, or African nations where female genital mutilation is a common practice, and often socially accepted, make us think that there is a long way to go before the celebration of the International Day of Woman being complete and definitive.

And since we are in Portugal, in a supposedly egalitarian society, let us not forget on this day, for example, the women who are victims of domestic violence every year, a plague that takes time to eradicate itself. Or the still small number of women in leadership positions.

Therefore, if today you are toasted with flowers or chocolates, gently refuse. Or else shout out loud that women’s wrestling is not the 100m hurdles. It is a marathon and, unfortunately, with a still distant end.

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