Why We Commemorate International Women’s Day

You have probably seen a lot on social media about International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day is being packaged and sold for a discount in the guise of empowerment and equity. This so called celebration of Women’s Day and feminism has become a corporate holiday that wraps up a particular brand of feminism that’s easily digestible and yet another reason to shop.


The consumption of Women’s Day and feminism seem to dilute why we celebrate women’s day in the first place. Women’s Day wasn’t always so trivialized, or so corporate as it is today.

The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28, 1909. The Socialist Party of America designated the day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.

Today, we are so disconnected from the people who make our clothing as 97% of items are now made overseas. There are roughly 40 million garment workers in the world today; many of whom do not share the same rights or protections that many people in the West do. They are some of the lowest paid workers in the world and roughly 85% of all garment workers are women. The human factor of the garment industry is too big to ignore; as we consistently see the exploitation of cheap labor and the violation of workers’, women’s, and human rights through globalization and as direct result of unchecked consumerism.

“This year International Women’s Day 2018 theme is #PressforProgress. With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away – there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress. –International Women’s Day 

International Women’s Day is a day to remember, honour and celebrate the women, who every day stand in their power and courage to fight for themselves, women and their communities.

2016 - Tess Asplund confronting the Nordic Resistance Movement in Sweden
Young woman at the demonstrations marking the 43rd anniversary of the military coup in Chile
1981, 36 women chained themselves to a fence at a US military airbase in Berkshire, England. They were protesting the decision of the British government to allow nuclear cruise missiles to be sited at RAF Greenham Common
Woman protester in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2016, Leshia Evans being arrested at a Black Lives Matter protest.
International Women’s Day 2018: protests across the world as women push for change – live

“In the year of #MeToo and Time’s Up, 8 March keeps the spotlight on women calling for progress. Follow the day’s global action live.”



On International Women’s Day and beyond we are on the frontline in the effort to end violence against women. From all of us at BWSS we wish you the best for International Women’s Day 2018.
BWSS Volunteers Photo by Kaidra L. Mitchell