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Why We Still Need Women’s Day in 2017

Just last week, a Polish member of the European Parliament made disparaging remarks against women. Janusz Korwin-Mikke said, “women must earn less than men, because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent,” while discussing the gender wage gap.

In January, Indian politician Sharad Yadav suggested a vote had more honor than a woman. This is not the first time Yadav has made sexist comments insulting women either.

These examples show only two recent events in an ongoing outpour of sexist comments from politicians and men in our day-to-day lives. International Women’s Day has been celebrated around the globe since 1909. This was before women had the right to vote. Yet women’s rights are still being fought for both at home and abroad, making International Women’s Day still important today.

“I think in today’s day and age it’s very important because I see a lot of people [and] women still being marginalized in society frequently,” Carter Griffin, a freshman business major, said.

Griffin is nt the only person to make this observation. The Women’s March on Jan. 21 drew a crowd of approximately 500,000 people to Washington D.C. alone, with an estimated 4.8 million marchers worldwide.

These women aren’t letting International Women’s Day pass them by either. March 8 is being unofficially designated “A Day Without Women.” The same groups that organized the Women’s March are in charge of organizing A Day Without Women.

It seems a little backwards to make International Women’s Day a womanless one, however the point is to show how much women are needed in their positions around the world. Specifically, according to the organizers’ website at womensmarch.com, the goal at the end of the day will be “recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system–while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.”

Already organizations, particularly schools, are closing on Wednesday due to planned worker—and teacher—absences.

While this is already making the point that women play a vital role in society as something other than stay-at-home moms, critics are pointing out the strike is geared toward privileged white woman, who can afford to go a day without work or potentially lose their jobs.

The organizers are specifically calling for anyone to join by having, “1. Women take the day off from paid and unpaid labor, 2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses), [and] 3. Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without Women.”

While the protest may not be realistic for every working woman, it is sure to turn heads. One hundred and nine years ago, 15,000 women marched on New York City to demand shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. International Women’s Day was born a year later in a time when women were unequal and oppressed.

Today, women are still fighting gender inequality, discrimination, harassment and wage gaps.

“It’s nice to really raise awareness,” freshman Amanda Schweitzer said.

Rebecca is a sophomore journalism student at the University of Maryland.She is a staff writer for Her Campus and Unwind magazine, a UMD publication. Originally from Pittsburgh, she is a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team.  She hopes to go into feature writing after graduation.
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