International Women's Day 2020 #EachforEqual
Growing up in a post-communist Poland, the 8th March has always been highlighted in the calendar. Every child knew that it marks the Women’s Day celebration. For a little girl, it meant that boys would be giving us flowers (usually carnation or tulip, maybe even a rose). Additionally, teachers might take the day lightly without unexpected knowledge checks.
A different perspective
As time passed, adolescent me automatically associated the Women’s Day with being treated as someone special. It’s great, you might think, however, the more you consider this situation, the more wrong it all seems. I started questioning the sense of the whole Women’s Day celebrations. Do we need to recognise the existence of half of the globe’s population? Why do I need to be treated as someone special once a year when I would prefer to feel respected and equal every single day? This was for me a paradox of the International Women’s Day and the acknowledgement of the biased world we live in.
When I was in my early twenties, before moving to the UK, I lived in Warsaw for a year. During that year, amongst other protests I took part in, I marched for equal rights on Women’s Day. The event, organised by Warsaw feminist groups, felt like a correct way to mark 8th March. I realised that without shouting about gender discrimination, equality can never be achieved.
It’s only worrying that over a decade on, I still feel like I need to shout…
My IWD 2020 celebration
I celebrated this year’s International Women’s Day at an event organised by Women in Sustainability (WINS) on 4th March. They invited phenomenal speakers, arranged group activities and served us with a delicious meal. It felt marvellous to be part of it, considering my interest in sustainable UX and in climate activism.
After the introduction by Traci Lewis and Jenna Holiday, Catalyse Change founders and directors, Ruth Davey opened the session with an introduction to mindful photography.
The opening part of the event was followed by a series of 10-minute talks by five remarkable women who work in the South West. Natalie Fee from City to Sea, Jaya Chakrabati from TISC Report, Donna Thomas from Resonance, Iona Martin from the Bristol Women in Business Charter, and Milly Sibson from the Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate. The stories they shared were compelling, incredibly inspiring and empowering.
Brilliant Grace Ekall led an Afrikan dance workshop, and Ari with Claudia from the Coexist Community Kitchen prepared a delicious meal for the participants.
Closing the event, Mya-Rose, the Birdgirl, talked about her fight for equality.
It was a fantastic feeling to share that day with so many intelligent, bold and beautiful women.
My last but not least words
Looking at the IWD from today’s perspective, I prefer to say no to flowers or words of congratulations. You can still show appreciation to what I do, but please skip the unnecessary fluff. I couldn’t agree more with Greta’s tweet demanding equality, not congratulations or celebrations.
Photo credits in order of appearance:
- Yellow rose on brown wooden surface - photo by Victor Rutka on Unsplash
- Power & equality poster - photo by mana5280 on Unsplash