Judy Rebick writes on rabble.ca that, “The history of IWD is a history of the struggle of ordinary women to throw off the burden of the oppression and discrimination they faced. …From the beginning, IWD was about a more inclusive women’s movement and a more feminist political movement.”
“In 1911, the first International Women’s Day marches were held across Europe. …The first visible celebration of IWD in Canada was in Quebec, but the first IWD march was in 1978, when a small Marxist group with strong feminist leadership decided to try a re-establish the tradition of IWD in Canada. Varda Burstyn, representing that group, approached Carolyn Egan with the proposal to organize women across issues and organizations and hold an IWD march. They felt a visible presence of the women’s movement was needed and that feminists needed to unite with their allies across issues. Thousands came out.”
“Every year about a hundred women would meet in a kind of mass democracy to decide on themes. So IWD always reflected the debates within the women’s movement. …This year the theme is (Our City, Our Services, Our Future!) Women Take on The Fight for public services.”
Rebick concludes, “We have achieved a revolution in the status of women in the hundred years since IWD began. Our grandmothers who fought those early battles couldn’t even have imagined how much closer to liberation we are today. But we have not yet fully transformed the ancient system of patriarchy that continues to promote male domination, militarism and the objectification and oppression of women. That will take a new generation, of women and men, to take power out of the hands of the politicians, the corporations, including the media, and the experts, into their own hands and share it more equally and fairly.”
To read her full commentary, please go to http://www.rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/judes/2011/03/iwd-100-years-struggle-womens-liberation.
For a listing of IWD events across Canada this year, please go to http://www.internationalwomensday.com/search.asp.
For a video marking IWD, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK6U24syzxI.