International Women’s Day: the least we can do to fight sexism

Marie O'Connor, Opinions Editor

This week when deciding what to write for this article, I was grappling with important topics such as where to get the best thai food, the five stages of food poisoning, or the new celebrations surrounding St. Patrick’s day.

Arguably, these issues aren’t that important, but they would probably be a more desirable topic to read about for my fellow classmates than what this issue will actually be about. Feminism. That big F word that will most likely be the cue for half the people reading this to stop reading.

Last week on March 8, New Trier, along with the rest of the world, celebrated International Women’s Day, “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity,” according to the IWD official website.

The idea of international women’s day is really important to me, as I identify as female and much more radically, I also identify as a feminist.

A day to honor the achievements and advancements of women seems more necessary this year than at any other time in my life.

Amid sexist and misogynistic comments that have been uttered during the past political campaign, a day honoring women seems like the least we can do. Literally the least.

Women make up half of the world’s population, and yet only one out of 365 days of the year is dedicated to us.

While New Trier made an effort to integrate IWD into the school day, the seminars and talks seemed to take a backseat to the normal school day. Few people knew about the speakers, and those who did didn’t see the importance of attending.

While seminar day amassed huge controversy within the community, it also was a platform for people to start talking about race. The minimal attention given to IWD seems to speak to the idea that this issue isn’t seen as important.

Within this last year my beliefs have been denied and challenged by men who think that they know what feminism means.

This past week even, a young boy I babysit told me if there is going to be a day honoring women, then there should also be a day honoring men, because that’s what feminism truly means.

Feminism means “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” so based on the definition, is International Women’s Day actually anti-feminist?

No it is not. If you disagree, I’d love to hear what you have to say, so write a letter to the New Trier News, and we’ll publish your response. But for right now, this is my article, and I say no, IWD is not anti-feminist.

Along these same lines, a few months ago I was engaged in a discussion about this same idea. In an article one of my fellow classmates had read, apparently for the past five or so years, women have been making more money and are hired more frequently than men in young professional workplaces.

Responding to this fact, I said, good for us. In my mind, five or so years doesn’t nearly make up for the millenai of inequality between the sexes in the professional and social world.

However, my response was deemed “anti-feminist” because I am celebrating women succeeding over men. Feminists are not supposed to want women to be treated better than men or receive more opportunity, we are supposed to want exact equality.

I do believe that total equality of the sexes should be something that as a society we strive toward, however, having a day to honor women, or celebrating a success of women is not anti-feminist.

Hopefully, 50 years from now high school students will not need to have one day set aside to learn about the impact women have made in society, because this will be taught everyday, along with the impact men have made.

However that is not that case right now. International Women’s Day is needed because even in 2017, in my AP science class, we learned male scientists are often given credit for work female scientists have done.

IWD is necessary because a classmate of mine is allowed to say that because 1 of 5 women on college campuses are sexually abused, women shouldn’t even dare go to college.

International Women’s day is needed so long as we have men accused of sexual assault being praised for athletic ability, winning Oscars, and sitting in the oval office.