Reflecting on International Women’s Day
Updated: Apr 16, 2021
As explained by Amnistía Venezuela, every year since 1975 the world celebrates the International Women's Day on March 8th. This date observes women's fight for their rights to actively participate in society, end patriarchal inequality and be able to develop themselves as whole persons. It was established by the United Nations (UN) and its purposes are both to celebrate achievements as well as to call attention to the huge gaps that still today divide genders.
Feminists owe much to Clara Zetkin in terms of celebrating March 8 as International Women’s Day. This German and Socialist woman was fundamental to get March 8 adopted as International Women’s Day during the Second International Women’s Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1910.
Woman’s Day or Women’s Day?
Between 2013 and 2015, María Leticia worked for the local Gender Equality Office writing reports and public policies, as well as planning awareness-raising campaigns and communication strategies.
When March 8th, 2013 arrived, she had to elaborate the project to declare International Women’s Day of municipal interest. It was then when a more experienced colleague taught María Leticia that in Argentina, we commemorate “el Día Internacional de las Mujeres” (“women” in plural) and not “el Día Internacional de la Mujer” (that is, “a woman” in singular) as many other Latin American countries do. The reason? We believe there’s more than one way to be a woman.
No fellow trans woman left behind
Women are incredibly diverse and among them many suffer from double discrimination. For example, beyond any challenges all women in Latin America and the Caribbean may face, those who live in rural areas usually have more limited access to sexual and reproductive health services compared to women living in urban areas. Something similar happens to women living in poverty.
In the case of “travesti” and trans women, oppression gets tripled. They suffer from many types of discrimination, more than most other women: in Argentina, the life expectancy of a trans person is 39 years. In Spain, 80% of trans women are excluded from the labor market. According to Agencia Presentes, 16% of all deceased trans people in 2019 were victims of hate crimes and 86% died prematurely as a consequence of systematic exclusion, a phenomenon called “social travesticide.”