In issue no3 of Scum grrrls magazine, we published a short historical introduction to the International womenâ€™s day, recalling its feminist origins and how the womenâ€™s movements across the globe have mobilised for everything from voting rights to abortion rights in joint efforts during this day.
It is clear that commercial and conservative forces are doing their outmost to recuperate and disarm any radical potential that this day holds for women’s struggles all over the world. One strategy seems to be to transform international women’s day into an occasion when men give flowers to ‘their’ women ! Giving flowers to all ‘his’ female Commissioner colleagues is exactly what the European Commission president Barosso did – an act duly reported and covered by many TV channels. Other mainstream media like to give the impression that the women’s day at this stage in time is only relevant to ‘other’ women, sometimes among us, but preferably elsewhere in the world. At the most it seems as if a reporter is sent off to do an obligatory piece of the historical gains of feminism. Very few media actually seriously address the burning issues that are present today – be it locally, nationally, and regionally !
And as if it was not enough that some mainstream players downplay International women’s day, the 8 March is also increasingly being used by anti-feminist actors to attack some of the achievements of the women’s movement. Christian fundamentalists managed for example to have a room in the European Parliament to organise an anti-abortion rights’ meeting on 8 March this year.
It seems as if the struggle of the meaning of International Women’s day is a continuous one – that it is not a day to give flowers or presents to women, not a day to celebrate women’s double workload with features on women happily smiling over the kitchen sink, not a day to put forward biologist and essentialist notions of ‘womanhood’ ! The International women’s day was, and will remain, a specific moment of mobilisation and making visible the struggles of women in their different contexts, mobilising and recognising the diverse connections between our different political, social and economical projects !
Sweden : Reclaim the night - Women taking back public space…also at night !
Stockholm saw several demonstrations during 8th of March – one of the most noisy ones were organised by the Anarchafeminist movement and called together women to reclaim the night and public space for women and recalling the right to move freely without fear of male aggressions at night, with participation by Fittcrew Ballet and radical cheerleaders – asking all participants to bring everything that makes noise !