March 8th is indeed a reminder of the struggles and the sacrifices made by the American working women in New York on March 8th, 1857, who rose against discrimination and oppression instigated by the opposite sex at their work place and who demanded equal pay and equal rights. 53 years later, in the year 1910, in a conference in Copenhagen, Clara Zetkin, a champion and advocate for women’s rights and seeker of justice asked the international community to recognize this day as the day which symbolizes the oppression against women but also one that seeks justice for them. At last, March 8th was recognized and celebrated as the official International Women’s Day by the United Nations in 1975.
Every year since then, the world has celebrated March 8th as the day of women and has remembered the work of great women such Vilma Espín of Cuba, Clara Zetkin of Germany, Queen Soraya of Afghanistan, Djamila Boupacha of Algeria and many more women as such.
Today, we must ask what celebrating this day has accomplished for women so far? Has celebrating this day help eradicate or reduce violence and social injustice against women in countries around the world? Has it helped end gender discrimination? Does celebrating this day mean that women no longer face challenges within the societies they live in and that their rights have been fully recognized? Today’s advanced societies claim that women and men are indeed seen as equals. But how could it be equality if women bare children, continue to work as hard as men in the workplace and take up a second shift taking care of things at home? How could it be equality if women struggle to be in, or hold key positions, in companies or in governments? How could it be equality if they face more challenges in winning elections? Are we certain that there is equality for women even in developed countries?
Today, it is important to remember that what we have achieved so far in recognizing our equal rights, and how much we have been able to reduce in violence and discrimination against women, are the results of the strength, resiliency and sacrifices of those women who came before us. But we also must remember that we still have a long way ahead to live in equality. We must remember that to achieve this, it is us women who must stand side by side and for our strengths to come together as one.
March 8th is not only the day the world raises a flag against injustice, discrimination and violence against women, but it is the day women stand in solidarity with one another. So it is on us women to stand in solidarity despite our differences, to say NO to any form of discrimination and violence against women, and to leave a legacy of freedom and equality for the future generations.
Today, 1951 Coffee Company remembers the sacrifices made by champions of women’s rights and celebrates ALL women around the world and the role they play in societies: you are indeed the masterpiece of creation… -Nazira