Women need their own holiday

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The phrase “Happy International Woman’s day. Make me a sandwich” was far too common on Twitter and Facebook last Friday.

This submissive attitude towards International Women’s Day (IWD) is the general response given by most people when they hear about it. Holidays like Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah and Kwanza are all widely known and celebrated by most of the population while days like IWD, which advocate for human rights, seem to fall to the side and be ignored.

International Woman’s Day began on March 19, 1911 in Europe. Millions of men and women participated in events showing their support for women’s equal participation in society. This cause and awareness became global with the help of the United Nations and March 8  became the official day of celebration that is known and celebrated across the globe as a national holiday.

For the majority of us students, the holidays we focus on other than religious ones, are those that give us an excuse to pursue our love of alcohol. These would include Oktoberfest, Halloween, New Year’s Eve and, of course, the wonderful St. Patrick’s day. With all of these, who needs to focus on the other holidays? As members of society and the future generation, we do.

I will be the first to admit that I did not know this month included IWD.  Thinking about it, I feel that as a woman it is especially something I should be aware of and participate in. Women have been oppressed for years and have struggled just to have the right to vote.

We have lived in —and still live in— a male-dominated society. This is especially evident in less developed countries where women have little to no status. This may all seem repetitive as we have learned about women’s struggles since elementary school, but it is an important issue to be aware of and to participate in fixing.

This year’s topic for IWD is “Ending Violence Against Women” as abusive relationships are the cause of 40-60 per cent of homicides in the United States as outlined by the United Nations. Women rarely tell others if they are being abused and often blame themselves for the actions of the abuser. More awareness of this issue needs to be advocated especially on campus where the majority of students are unaware.

So this year, we should take the time to not only focus on the holidays that give us the opportunity to drink, but that inform ourselves and others of the issues that still exist in society in order to make a difference in the lives of women everywhere.

letters@thecord.ca

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