Around the world, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. It’s a holiday that calls on everyone to recognize and honor the accomplishments of women in the struggle for a better world. The first Women’s Day was celebrated in the U.S. in 1909 to honor the heroic garment workers strike in New York. In 1910, acting on a proposal from the outstanding German revolutionary Clara Zetkin, the Socialist International adopted International Women’s Day. Over 111 years later, women continue to fight on the frontlines for peace, equality and our communities’ futures.
Over the difficult past year, women have played a pivotal role in a world battling a massive pandemic. Without the struggle, work and sacrifices of women in the workplace and the home, societies around the globe would not be able to begin the road to recovery after the devastation brought by the COVID-19.
Women are standing in the forefront of the fight for workplace and community safety, while the for-profit health care system and failed government policies have made the pandemic some much worse that it had to be.
Whether working in the lab, working from home, or providing other essential services, women have helped keep our communities going during one of the most difficult times in recent memory. It’s important to recognize the special dual role many working mothers performed this past year, helping children who studied from home while also working themselves to provide for the family. This gendering of domestic labor is one of many aspects of society which must be reorganized.
Despite the huge impact the pandemic had on all aspects of life this past year, women continued to play a leading role in the political struggle for peace, justice and equality. Women, particularly Black, Latina, and other oppressed nationality women, fought against Donald Trump and all his backwards ideas. They helped defeat Trump during the 2020 U.S. presidential election, sending him packing despite all the whining and lies that man is capable of. This represents a major blow against a terrible time in U.S. history and brings with it better conditions to continue fighting for a better world.
Black women and many other women played a major role in the massive uprising seen around the U.S. last summer after the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police. Many cities saw massive militant marches and protests in the streets, using masks and social distancing to help keep people safe. Anyone who participated in the movement or paid attention to these events will understand the vital role played by women at every step. Women spoke out against injustice, rallied our communities, led chants in the streets and helped keep people safe while still organizing for justice in difficult times. Black women have consistently played a central role in the struggle for Black liberation and it’s important to recognize all they have helped us achieve.
On International Women’s Day we affirm that there is still much to be done. Black trans women continue to be murdered at very high rates compared to other groups of people, and we must continue to fight back against this disturbing trend. Inequality is growing and liberation is needed.
The struggle for women’s liberation includes important aspects like reproductive rights and fighting for equal pay. However, it goes beyond struggles that specifically affect women, because the stronger the role of women in the movement, the stronger the fight to end exploitation and oppression, This struggle is tightly interwoven with the struggle all working and oppressed people engage in every single day. Mao Zedong was not exaggerating when he said that “Women hold up half the sky.” This International Women’s Day, celebrate all the sisters who show courage and resilience while fighting to bring forth a new world from the ashes of the old!