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Not the happiest of international womens days

Not the Happiest of International Women’s Days

It’s International Women’s Day, but it feels hard to celebrate after a year of blows to women’s rights.

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A More Somber International Women’s Day

It’s International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. Nationally recognized in the United States since 1975, March 8 is for women. The day is a call to action for gender equality and women’s rights, highlighting the ongoing struggles women face in many parts of the world. The theme for International Women’s Day changes each year. There are various events, marches, rallies, and other activities that aim to raise awareness and promote gender equality.


Kristin reflects on years past when she used to have more enthusiasm for and felt more engaged with this feminist holiday. In fact, in 2011, she got to be part of the global event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the “Join Me On The Bridge” event. The flagship events were on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York (where Kristin was), the Millennium Bridge in London, and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco — and there were over 100 grassroots events on other bridges around the world, from Sydney Harbour to the Grand Barriere Bridge joining Rwanda and the Congo to downtown Wisconsin Rapids, organized by Kristin’s mom.

However, this year feels like a more challenging year to celebrate women’s achievements, and in so many countries, it feels like we are going backwards:

  • The United Nations has warned that the world is 300 years away from gender equality, with hard-won progress toward the goal “vanishing before our eyes.” 
  • While the protests in Iran over women’s rights and a repressive regime have been inspiring, it does not negate the fact that at least 530 people had been killed and more than 19,000 arrested and the government has only intensified its crackdown against protesters. 
  • In Afghanistan, the Taliban ordered that Muslim women be covered head to toe in public, banned them from attending all universities, and prevented them from working for international organizations. 

In the US, over a dozen states have banned most abortions, and there are countless stories about child rape victims needing to cross state lines to get an abortion or women who have miscarriages or unviable fetuses almost losing their lives because doctors are afraid to provide them an abortion.

Knowing all of that, a one-day holiday feels a little hollow. 

However, there are things we can all do, both today and beyond. Jane has specifically pointed out advice for the men out there wondering how they can support the women in their lives: talk to other men about uncomfortable topics.

Reminder: There are 27 Days Until Wisconsin’s Spring Election.

  • See what’s on your ballot here
  • You can register to vote online until March 15th, at your minicap clerk’s office until March 31st, and in person on April 4th at your polling place. Register or check your registration here.  
  • Deadline to request an absentee ballot is March 30th – request yours here.

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