This year we must use International Women’s Day to demonstrate our resolve and resistance. With a misogynist anti-woman administration in the White House, and a conservative far-right anti-gender movement sweeping Europe, we can no longer take for granted the rights that feminist activists have fought to achieve over so many years.
Women around the world have already responded in force, with millions turning out around the world for the Women’s March and thousands of follow-up demonstrations. Young women everywhere have awakened to the reality of an onslaught against them, and the need to fight for our rights together. Millions of men have joined the battle, for the first time identifying themselves as feminists, and proclaiming women’s rights as human rights.
“Intersectionality”, once an obscure academic concept, has become a buzz word for activists and protestors on the streets. Women, Muslims, LGBTI people, Jewish communities, ethnic minorities, immigrants and refugees - all of us have common cause together. Citizens have realised that our democracies face an existential threat, and we must band together to fight for all of our rights.
We are now reaching an apex of sexism that we did not foresee. However, we must use this as a way to raise a new generation of young women and girls, who will grow out of this movement as leaders and activists. Politicians and civil society must continue the momentum here, and promote gender equality education and leadership training and opportunities for these young women.
Today, on International Women’s Day, we must heed the rallying cry to fight on, and celebrate a new emerging wave of feminists that will rise up to meet the challenge.