International Women's Day: Keeping Feminism Intersectional

It’s International Women’s Day, which means it is a day to celebrate the accomplishments of women all around the world. As well as raise awareness of women’s issues all around the globe. Since Her Campus is a website dedicated to giving young women who are in college a platform to raise their voice, it is vital for us to know the history of International Women’s Day. 

March 8 was suggested by the 1910 International Socialist Woman's Conference to become an "International Woman's Day." After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.

Since then it has become a day not only to commemorate a movement of women’s rights but to empower women across the globe and recognize the struggles that women are still facing today.

A call for all women to keep their feminism intersectional. To recognize the fights, accomplishments, struggles, and experiences of black women, brown women, latinx women, Asian women, indigenous women, queer women, trans women, poor women, immigrant women, refugee women, Muslim women, Jewish women, women in other countries, and women who don’t present traditional “feminine” attributes.

 Recognizing that racial justice, environmental justice, worker’s rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQIA+ rights are women’s issues as well; because every issue is a women’s issue.

Audre Lorde once said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” That quote to me describes what intersectional feminism is. If you’re a white, cisgender, bourgeois woman like me, you hold a lot of privilege. It is essential that we use that privilege to lift our sisters who are much more oppressed than we are. If we are silent when our sisters are struggling, we are just as guilty as the oppressors. 

It all starts by checking our privilege and asking ourselves questions such as What are the ways I have benefited from being white? In what ways do I support and uphold a system that is structurally and historically racist? How do my race, class, and gender affect my perspective? 

Speaking out for women of color, femmes, queer women, women of religion, sex workers, and Trans women is not nearly enough. We must invest, support, listen, encourage, and elect these women, so their voices can be heard.

The mainstream feminist movement has been known to leave out women who weren’t straight, white, cisgender, able-bodied, and bourgeois. We can’t leave it to women outside of these perceived categories to make feminism intersectional. It is just as essential that white women do so as well; because we are not free unless all women are free. We are not equal until all women are equal. 

This International Women’s Day (and every day) I encourage you all to donate or invest in these women-led organizations helping support and relieve women around the world from inequality oppression and marginalization.

Time's Up Legal Defense Fund

Women for Women International

Women's March

She Should Run

Emily's List

National Indigenous Women's Resource Center

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Sister Song Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective

Sex Workers Outreach Project USA

Black Lives Matter

Black Youth Project 100

Counsel on American Islamic Relations

Planned Parenthood

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Trans Women of Color Collective