Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Why We Need Women’s Day


It’s the 100th International Women’s Day and here at Phlegm Central, I’d like to give you an intelligent post about why we still need a day to celebrate women and to mark the inequities between being a woman and being a man in 2011. However the phlegm has invaded my brain so I’m only able to give you bullet points:

  • glass ceilings
  • corrective rape
  • clitorodectomies
  • sex slavery
  • pay gaps
  • domestic violence
  • honour killings

And the facts that:

  • one in five women will become victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime
  • 19% of parliamentarians worldwide are women
  • women own 1% of the world’s property but do 66% of the world’s work
  • women make up 75% of the world’s illiterate population
  • two-thirds of children denied schooling worldwide are girls
  • women hold 12% of board-level positions in the UK

We need International Women’s Day because women around the world – even in your country – are systematically abused and discriminated against. In the absence of my own ability to cobble thoughts together, here’s what some other women have had to say:

Marielle Frostrup on feminism’s global challenge

Susie Mesure on countries where women on the march (including South Africa)

The Guardian’s 100 Inspiring Women

Dame Judi Dench and Daniel Craig’s video Are We Equals?

Lia’s post on Celebrating Women

Marie’s riposte to the question ‘Why Isn’t there an International Men’s Day?’

Lilian’s post on Yiddish and the Literature of Prayer

Helen G at The F-Word on the equality debate

Bluemilk who’s sick like me but still on the hunt for great feminist bloggers

Dad Who Writes on Patti Smith

Litlove’s essay A Woman’s World about how we can all stop chastising ourselves quite so fiercely and learn to worry less.

Annie Lennox talks to other women about feminism and the gap between developed and developing countries here. Top quote from Beverley Knight: ‘It’s interesting that in the countries where women have the least power, the least equality, International Women’s Day is much more treasured. Here in Britain, with our excess of everything, the very things that are so precious that the Emmeline Pankhursts gave their spirit and their lives to, we take for granted. We don’t think about the struggle that other women have across the world.’

If you’ve written a post about IWD or read an inspiring article, let me know and I’ll link to it here.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

14 thoughts on “Why We Need Women’s Day

  1. Well done. So little has been done to rectify these issues, even in my lifetime. It wasn’t so long ago that women couldn’t vote or attend university. But they rebuilt Berlin.

  2. Thanks for including me, Charlotte!

  3. And thank you for including me – I was coming over to tell you but you beat me to it!

  4. Thank you for that! And for the reminders of how much needs to be done. I had similar issues about trying to explain to someone why we don’t have an ‘International Men’s Day’ but spitting tin-tacks didn’t get me very far.

    As a man, every time I open my mouth about these issues I feel like a tokenising blowhard with a list of enabling issues as long as my arm. But there are things men can do in the space immediately around them – support maternity pay and leave, implement family friendly policies for women and men (because we love a good excuse) and pester the hell out of your MPs, representatives etc when they’re in a position to do anything about any of the above.

  5. The stats you included were really illuminating, Charlotte. There isn’t much of a big deal made of IWD here in the States (at least not in my NYC area, which excels at making big deals of things). Once in a rare while I catch myself very guiltily feeling glad my two children are boys. It’s terrible that I think that, but I do. Maybe I assume they’ll run into less trouble out in the world, and I might worry about them less. But, I’m proud to say, at ages 4 and 5, they always let ladies walk into the elevator first!!

  6. Well said! Um… we do 66% of the world’s work? That sounds about right but where did you find that number? I want to hang it somewhere…

  7. Lovely post, Charlotte. I got so carried away reading the things you linked to that I almost forgot to tell you how much I enjoyed your post!!

  8. Hi Charlotte, its true. There can be apathy amongst those who know little of history or look no further than their own situation. I was astounded at a young woman’s response many years ago who said she thought feminism was dead and that women were equal in terms of life choice. “Who wouldn’t choose to stay home and look after their children” is the way she explained her position. (She was in her early twenties. She may be wiser now).

  9. Excellent post, totally agree.

    All I did was attend a talk about women in the workplace and the challenges faced, which was really interesting.

    Here in Spain 50% of the cabinet are women including the equivalent of the Foreign Sec and Chancellor. It is a great step forward.

  10. Just remember, as they say down here, you strike the woman you strike the rock.

  11. Wonderful post – sorry I am coming late to it. I especially appreciate the links to such great articles!

  12. Absolute support for you girls. This is a top-of-mind issue every day of my life.

    I would like to see governments 60% women and only 40% men.

    Men cause all the horrors in this world, wars, torture, crime, corruption, rape, murder, drugs, foul language, bullying, road accidents … it never ends.

    And if one says anything about it, we get a ‘finger’. I have been threatened more than once.

    But they are cowards, taking advantage of other people’s weaknesses, be it physical, financial, gender, age, ignorance, race, etc. I think racism is a male thing.

    Research shows that males are beginning to die out. Survival is brain power, not brute force. Already, 60% of varsity students are female.

    Perhaps the future is females able to reproduce without club-wielding, cave-men sitting on their butts drinking.

    To make you smile. Little Johnny examining his testicles in the bath. ‘Mummy, are these my brains?’

    ‘Not yet, my darling.’

    Go well,


  13. Pingback: Pictures for Women’s Day, 8 March 2012 « Charlotte's Web

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