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International Women’s Day march should celebrate all types of activism

Women helping women is one of the founding mandates of Women’s Post — and this comes in many shapes and forms in the world of activism.

International Women’s Day isn’t only a day to celebrate women, but is also a time to bring women, men, and children together to fight for equality and justice in a world that is often filled with rampant sexism, bigotry, and hatred. It is a time to stand up for what is right and feel empowered by the community of women that surrounds you. On a personal level, it is also a time to be proud to be a woman and shout it to the world.

The International Women’s Day March is taking place at 1 Kings College Circle in Toronto from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and connects several networks of like-minded individuals across the world to advocate for positive change for women. It is also an opportunity for women to support each other regardless of sexual orientation, race, or religion. The most integral and motivating element of fighting alongside women across the globe is that we are all affected by various types of hatred and must fight them together. We must support each other and show solidarity and unification against all types of hatred.

It also gives women involved in other types of activism an avenue to express their solidarity. Women in animal rights activism have organized to meet at the Women’s Day March to celebrate women fighting to make the lives of animals better. This protest movement comes in the wake of Toronto Pig Save Leader, Anita Krajnc’s trial, where she is being charged for giving pigs to water. The verdict is due to be released on May 4 and is greatly anticipated by protestors across the world. The pig trial has given even more reason for women to gather and unify to fight against perceived injustices towards animals. The solidarity of these women also demonstrates there is an intersectional connection between women’s rights and fighting against other types of hatred, and linking the two together inspires even more change at a societal level.

There are also many women who will be at the march to fight against islamophobia at the Women’s Day March. The alt-right movement has been heavily advocating islamophobic ideologies and the protestors at the march will also unify for our Muslim sisters to demonstrate that love is more powerful then hate. Needless to say, Kellie Leitch will not be invited. Advocating a LGBTQ friendly space is also essential to show the world that homophobia is not acceptable and this form of hatred will not be tolerated or accepted amongst women at the march either. Women’s rights issues are at the helm too with thousands of women walking off the job this week to protest pay inequality in the workplace.

Many groups that will be represented at International Women’s Day and this shows that the event is about advocating for women in many ways. It encompasses equality and justice against hatred and intolerance. Women deserve equal treatment across the board, and homophobia to anti-semitism to racism to speciesism must be destroyed. Only by unifying as a cohesive and unified whole can everyone together defeat the injustices that pervade the world we live in. Join the events on Saturday if you can and never forget to treat your fellow women with respect every day, because only though community and solidarity do we stand any chances of defeating the evils in this world.

On the topic of International Women’s Day

When I think of International Women’s Day, first observed nationally in the U.S. on February 28, 1909, I often consider women who made significant contributions to the state of women before the officially proclaimed day.

One of the most influential of those women was Eleanor Roosevelt.

After Franklin Roosevelt was sworn in as president in March 1933, Eleanor began to transform the conventional role of first lady from social hostess to that of a more visible, active participant in her husband’s administration.

Roosevelt encouraged her husband to appoint more women to federal positions, and she held hundreds of press conferences specifically for female reporters at a time when women were typically barred from White House press conferences. From 1961 until her death the following year, Roosevelt headed the first Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, at the request of President John Kennedy.

Suffrage in 1920 granted already active women the opportunity to expand their reforms even further into the public sphere. Concerning the vote, Eleanor stated, “I became a much more ardent citizen and feminist than anyone about me in the intermediate years would have dreamed possible. I had learned that if you wanted to institute any kind of reform you could get far more attention if you had a vote than if you lacked one.”

Eleanor Roosevelt came to symbolize the independent and politically active woman of the 20th century. The novice political spouse who once said, “It was a wife’s duty to be interested in whatever interested her husband” had traveled a long and sometimes lonely road. “I could not, at any age, really be contented to take my place in a warm corner by the fireside and simply look on,” she wrote in her final years. This vitality lasted until tuberculosis took her life in 1962.

Ms. Roosevelt’s pioneering attitude set the example for women today who continue to dedicate themselves to pursuing equality and each year celebrate International Women’s Day on March 9.

I think that many of us are unaware of what a challenge it must have been before the Feminist Movement for women to pursue equality. When I attended Ryerson Polytechnic Institute from 1961 to 1964 to get my diploma in Business Administration, I was the only woman in a class of over 100 men. Near the end of my final year, 1964, when Corporate Canada was interviewing the graduating class, I received only one job offer, compared to the men in my program who received upwards of 10 offers. I had one recruiter say “Why don’t you just get married?” And this was in 1964.

If I encountered in the 1960s the continuing bias against women of influence, I can’t imagine what Eleanor Roosevelt faced. She pursued her passion to find equality for her female peers against much stronger criticism than I experienced.

If it hadn’t been for her crusading, there likely would not have been the growth of the desire of women to become equals in all aspects of their lives. There might not have been the Feminist Movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s that propelled women forward internationally in all aspects of their lives. And without the Feminist Movement, would there ever have been an International Women’s Day to mark our progress? Not likely.

International Women’s Day celebrates the strides, the accomplishments, the march toward total equality that women have made in the past 100 years. Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the early champions, one of the most visible champions, one of the most influential champions. Without Ms. Roosevelt’s pioneering, people certainly would not be enjoying the celebration of International Women’s Day. Her advocacy promoted recognition of the need for equality for women and International Women’s Day reflects many of her hopes for women of her time and women of the future.

Eleanor Roosevelt not only set the stage for women’s equality, she also gave women an incredible role model.