by Giulya Ionescu
March 8th marks international women’s day, a day envisaged by German delegate Clara Zetkin, whom proposed at the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference a “special Women’s day”.
This year’s theme is #EachforEqual, challenging people to start from their own thinking and actions to create a bigger change. One of the very important points on the IWD website is saying that this is a feminist movement that goes on all year long not only on international women’s day. But how far has feminism come?
From a western point of view, it would be easy to say that feminism has achieved equality, but feminism is not just about women being equal to men, in the past few years having a lot more impact on intersectionality.
Feminism is about minorities, LBGT members, working-class people and not just about privileged sections of society having equal privilege amongst themselves. The pay gap is still very much real, as it only decreased by 0.3% since 2018, but often the fight for equal wages in being carried in Hollywood, very much to the like of the public but not seeming to create a big change for people who depend of those few pounds or pence extra an hour. The Hollywood equality fight however started the #Timesup movement, which reached victory last week with Harvey Weinstein’s conviction of sexual assault, after various celebrities gathered money and lawyers to help Weinstein’s victims. If talking about Hollywood however there’s still some way to go, with Woody Allen still making movies and receiving a lot of support from various women who still feel comfortable working with him despite allegations against him. Allen’s supporter Scarlett Johansson has been often accused of showing ‘white feminism’, which has nothing to do with race and just means supporting equality as long as it benefits you and showing no regard for other’s needs, as she supported #Timesup but not the movement against Allen. Johansson has also been involved in a scandal regarding her taking over a Japanese character for the movie ‘Ghost in the shell’, which takes opportunities away from Japanese actresses and shows a lack of representation. Her approach to feminism is that of someone who believes equality has been achieved. And for rich, influential people equality between women and men has probably been achieved.
“Feminism is about minorities, LBGT members, working-class people and not just about privileged sections of society having equal privilege amongst themselves”.
But if you look beneath the media and entertainment, people are dying because of the lack of support they receive and how society still perceives them. By November in 2019 20 trans or gender non-conforming women of colour have been murdered in the US (as per HRC investigation) while Trans women of colour have a murder rate 7 times higher than the average American. These women were killed by their families, partners or even by complete strangers. Naomi Hersi was murdered in London in 2018, by Jesse McDonald who lured her using a swingers’ website, showing people actively seek these women so they can hurt them, and they need feminism more than ever.
Everyday there’s news of women suffering all over the world, and so often it comes from the top. Pakistani courts ruled girls who start their period can be married off, the US president made remarks about grabbing women and dating his own daughter, the UK prime-minister voted against cutting the tampon-tax and avoided any abortion-related vote. Overall, the problems start from the top, therefore change can’t come solely from individuals, and must reach the leaders too.