Today, 8th March, we celebrate International Women’s Day. It is a good day to think about achievements already made, to call for more changes and remember the courageous steps taken by ordinary women, who have played an important role in the history of their countries and communities.
The United Nations (UN) began to celebrate this day in 1975, and it has a different topic each year. The theme of this year, “Equality for women is progress for all¨ shows how gender equality, empowerment of women, women’s full enjoyment of human rights, and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic and social development.
The International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the beginning of the 20th century in North America, although, there were previous protests in 1857 and the creation of the first women labour union two years after. To choose the 8th March was not by chance, the movements mentioned took place on that day, and the labour union was also created in the month of March.
The 8th March of 1908, as well as before, a big movement of 15,000 women protesting took place in the streets of New York City. They were asking for better salaries, right to vote, shorter working hours and an end to child work. They adopted the slogan ‘Bread and Roses’, with bread symbolising economic security and roses a better quality of life.
The movement started with specific objectives based on fighting against discrimination. Two years later, 25th March 1911, a big fire took place in a textile factory. Due to the lack of safety measures 146 workers died, most of them were women. It was a big impact for the movement and brought to light the lack of decent working conditions that the women were denouncing before.
Nowadays, there is also still a lot of work to do: to reach equal pay, eradicate any type of violence against women (physical, psychological, sexual, etc), knock down the barriers that girls suffer to have access to education, increase the representation of women at political, legislative and economic bodies, etc.
EUD knows that Deaf women suffer double discrimination because of the fact of being a women and also Deaf. They are sometimes treated as second class citizens and not valued as equals. Accesible information about feminism to promote the empowerment and leadership of Deaf women is important to fight against the current situation. We encourage Deaf women to live feeling free to make their own choices in their personal life, without outside pressure. There are lots of options, and all of them must be respected, so Deaf women can live proudly and independently. We fully support this aim of having equal chances and rights for women and men alike.
We hope to see one day all these claims as something related to the past, and to get the real equality that all women deserve.
Official website for international day: