International Women's Day 2020

On Sunday 8th March 2020, the world celebrated the 109th International Women’s Day. Inspired by the concept of collective individualism, the main theme this year is #EachforEqual. The idea that our individual actions and talents can work together to create large-scale societal change has been central to the success of feminist movements throughout history, and continues to be imperative to the movement today. This can be seen in how this notion of collective individualism can explain why the cliché of women in so-called ‘equal’ countries such as the UK not ‘needing’ feminism is utterly flawed. The point of feminism is gender equality, so until this is achieved globally, the collective actions of everyone, everywhere, are needed in order to instigate further social changes. IWD is vital in providing a focal point each year to take stock of these individual actions, and to come together at a global level to amplify their impact. It acts as both a celebration of these actions and how far we have come in making the world a more equal place, but it also serves to further spread the message of how far we still have to go.


The way in which IWD exists above political and geographical divides is also noteworthy, especially in an era where politics are becoming ever more divisive, and protectionist and individualist thinking is on the rise. #EachforEqual is just one of the many themes of the IWD events held globally. The UN also host IWD celebrations, this year observing the event on March 6th, 10am-1pm, and focussing on the theme of “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”. On March 5th, the EU will host a celebration marking the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration (an important instrument documenting commitment to the advancement of women across 12 areas of society). There will be two central themes of this event, one entitled “Beijing 25+: next steps towards Generation Equality” and one focused on women leadership in the fight for climate justice. It is interesting that the EU have chosen to recognise climate change through this second limb of their celebrations, as the two movements have many similarities in the way that they both transcend manmade divides. Both inequality and climate change affect us all in some way, either directly or indirectly. Equally, they are both issues which require the collective action of all of us in order to solve them.


Here at the University of Bristol, many IWD celebrations are being held throughout the week, with perhaps the most important to note being on Tuesday 10th March- today! The Intersectional Feminist Society are hosting an IWD event tonight in the Anson Rooms. The theme of the event is ‘Power and Protest’, and it will feature several speeches and performances from people such as Eliza Hatch (an activist who created the global photo and interview series ‘Cheer Up Luv’ about street harassment), Angelika Peplinski (spoken-word poet) and Emily Jane Lumsden (singer-songwriter). There will also be acts by Pole Fitness, Bollywood Soc and Panto Soc, to celebrate this evening of empowerment. And don’t worry, HC Bristol will also be represented at the event, as the evening will start with a series of short speeches from several societies (including ours!) about our work and why feminism is central to it. If that’s all not enough to persuade you, I don’t know what is! Tickets are super cheap for both students and members of the public, and details about how to buy them and about the event itself can be found here. Doors open at 5:30pm for a 6pm start, so see you then!