What to celebrate on International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. Maybe in Europe or the United States it seems no longer necessary to think about the rights and achievements of women. Feminism exists quite a long time. You would think that men and women have the same rights by now.

In reality women are paid just 79 percent of what men are paid in the United States. Also in European countries women earn between 29,9 and 3,2 percent less than men. In politics still far more men than women are found. The House of Commons of the United Kingdom becomes almost empty if you would take out the male members of Parliament. Only 2 women, and 21 men were running for president in the United States this year. Rape victims (women as well as men) are still accused of provoking the rape themselves.

Enough reasons why feminism is still important. Fortunately gender equality notably improved in the last 100 years. This is the day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. And to tell which women’s right activists you admire. Here is my (by far in-exhaustive) list of women who did and do some great things for gender equality:

What to celebrate on International Women's Day
On the top row: Malala Yousafzai, Susan B. Anthony and Wangari Maathai. On the bottom row: Coco Chanel, Aletta Jacobs and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Malala Yousafzai (1997)

Malala was only 11 years old when she started to campaign for education rights. Therefore she was shot in the head by the Taliban. But Malala survived, and continued to fight for girl’s right to education. She also wrote a book I want to read.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)

This American woman dedicated her life to the fight for women’s rights. She campaigned for women’s right to vote, for equal education opportunities regardless of gender and race, and she advocated for women’s labour organisations.

Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)

She was the first women in Central and East Africa who earned a doctorate degree. In addition, Wangari was a women’s right and environmental activist. She was, among other things, chairman of the National Council of Women of Kenya, and she founded the Green Belt Movement. This environmental organization empowers communities, particularly women, to conserve the environment and improve livelihoods.

Coco Chanel (1883-1971)

As fashion designer she popularized a new kind of fashion, so women no longer were obligated to wear skirts and corsets. This may not sound really important, but I am glad that I can wear whatever I want.

Aletta Jacobs (1854-1929)

This Dutch doctor was the fist female student that successfully finished university. She also fought for women’s right to vote.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (1977)

Definitely listen to her TED talk about why we should all be feminists. I already written about how one of the books by this Nigerian writer is on top of my TBR list. Her amazing TED talks are one of the reasons.

I like to see more posts about International Women’s Day! So leave a link in the comments if you celebrate the achievements of women today.


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