International Womens Day


Why International Women’s Day is mostly good, and Tom is mostly wrong | 

Jessica Mack
Jessica Mack

By Jessica Mack

Last week was International Women’s Day (March 8), in case you miraculously missed it. And Tom asked “is International Women’s Day good for women?” He questions the value of gratuitous global days of recognition, with which I mostly agree. It’s kind of annoying and it’s exhausting. There is always a new one popping up and it’s like, “oh man, really?”

But International Women’s Day is different.

It is, personally, one of my all time favorite days of the year. I love it more than Thanksgiving, and maybe even my birthday. I definitely love it more than Halloween and the Fourth of July.

I am someone who is privileged enough to have a job (that I love) where I think, talk, research, and write about women nearly 24/7. It is not really a job for me, I suppose, more a way that I live my life. International Women’s Day is a rare day when I can share that passion unfettered with the world. I can subject friends to dinner conversations on emergency contraception without feeling guilty. I can post seven consecutive Tweets on gang rape and not worry I’ll lose followers (or to hell with them).

I feel empowered by International Women’s Day because for that day, I feel like much more of the world is behind those who work on these issues all day every day. Continue reading

Is International Women’s Day good for women? | 

Rosie the Riveter in reality, 1939 Boeing
Rosie the Riveter in reality, 1939 Boeing
Library of Congress


Now that I have your attention, let me quickly emphasize that I’m not saying International Women’s Day is necessarily bad for women.

But I’m not sure it is a good thing, and not for the sexist reasons you may assume my gender inclines me to hold.

Disclosure: I’m not a big fan of International or National Anything Days. I’m not convinced that these arbitrary calendrical celebrations necessarily do all that much to improve public understanding and recognition of the issues being celebrated.

It’s just as possible to argue that by making something a ‘special cause’ for the day you relieve us all of the obligation to consider it as an ongoing embedded concern we should be talking about every day. Does anyone have any data on that?

Now, International Women’s Day is certainly not as goofy as Pig Day (which we celebrated earlier this week) or International Panic Day (which is either tomorrow or on June 18). And to be clear, I am not trying to compete with this day by noting that today also happens to Be Nasty Day. Continue reading

A century of women’s days: What to celebrate and what not to | 

Flickr, Prachatai

International Women's Day Thailand

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, a celebration of women born out of the early 20th-century labor and suffragette movements.

Given its original socialist worker underpinnings, it’s perhaps no surprise this day is more widely celebrated in Europe and elsewhere than it has been in the U.S. (where even saying the “S” word seems to cause people to twitch.) Continue reading

The need to “girl up” our approach to development | 

Flickr, Alireza Teimoury

There’s a lot of talk these days about focusing on the needs of women and young girls when it comes to foreign aid, development and global health.

As was noted recently by Unicef, and reported in the Guardian, the needs of teenagers and adolescents are generally neglected when it comes to many global health and development programs. This is especially true of the needs of girls and young women. Continue reading