Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. As usual, the mainstream media will be filled with programming about whether women have achieved equality. There will be stories about women in business, and women in the military, and women trying to balance careers and families. Some will say that the struggle is over; they will say that the project of feminism is complete. There will be images of women and girls in classrooms in the global south, and of women in various positions of power. Maybe there will even be another debate about whether Sarah Palin is the face of a new conservative feminism (for the record, she is not: see here).
There won’t be stories about male soldiers raping their female coworkers. We won’t hear about how Barrick Gold denied that women were being gang raped near one of their mines in Papau New Guinea. We won’t hear outrage about Barrick Gold chairman and founder Peter Munk’s comment that “gang rape is a cultural habit” in Papau New Guinea. There won’t be images of Canadian Border Service Agents busting into women’s shelters and crisis centres looking for women without immigration status to deport.
Today is International Women’s Day, and today, women will get raped. Women will be sexually assaulted and harrassed. Women will face intimate partner abuse. There will not be a ceasefire in the war on women today.
Tomorrow, there will still be judges that think that what a woman wears causes her to be raped. There will still be people who would rather criminalise sex work than support sex workers in their communities. There will still be those who refuse to believe that someone can fight to expose injustice and still be a rapist. There will continue to be legislators who want to control women’s bodies, whether by criminalising abortion and sex work, or denying same-sex marriage rights, or criminalising trans women and denying them access to health care or other public services, or restricting access to safer sex education to girl. My list could go on, because there is so much farther to go.
Today, the hundreds of women incarcerated in prisons across the country, will continue to be isolated from their families and communities.
So, today, on International Women’s Day, support the women and girls in your communities. We will need to find hope and strength in each other in the times ahead. The struggle continues.
PS: Coming soon: new posts in my blog series on rape culture/updates from go it alone (together)/new stuff!