International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2019
By Conor O’Neill
Today sees women (and open minded males) the world over celebrating International Women’s Day. The dawn of this celebration is lost in the fog of history. Some say it began in New York in 1907, others claim it was 1909, while Vladimir Lenin declared Women’s Day a national day of celebration in the then Soviet Russia in 1911. What is agreed on is the United Nations General Assembly decreed March 8th to be Women’s International Day in 1975.
Whatever the true date may be, there’s no doubting the power and empowerment March 8th has brought and continues to bring to women the globe over. But there’s more to be achieved.
And I’m sure you’re asking what’s a man doing writing about IWD? Well, speech writers write for who are in power, allegiance or not; ordinary law abiding citizens write the darkest of murder stories; barristers write, then with skills worthy of an Oscar defend the unforgivable. So give me a little room here. Article 10 of the European Human Rights Act defends and implores our right to free expression. If that doesn’t give anyone the right, and by-the-by, it is a right, not a privilege, I shall chant to Shaman drums whenever the wind blows.
1975 was only 12 years after Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a dream’ speech. And 20 years after Rosa parks refused to give up her seat in a cold December 1955. Here in Northern Ireland The Black rights demonstration led to The Civil Rights march from Coalisland to Dungannon, August 28th, 1968. Four months after Martin Luther King’s assassination. All examples of a few who became the many. Let’s inspect a bit further: Bodica, Emmeline Pankhurst, Mary O’Malley, Joan of Arc, Cleopatra and the greatest, the Greek Goddess of the earth, Geae. Who we now all call ‘Mother Earth’. March 8th meant nothing to them, but they kept on striving.
But closer to home, I’ve two parents, one of whom happens to be my mother AKA a‘woman’. And a ,lovely mum she is. My two sisters are women, my nieces will be women in the near future; best buddies are women and mates and confidants. And all I simply ask is equality comes about, no glass ceiling, no being overlooked because you’re a rising star in he business world but with child.
MLK, in the speech that rang round the word, stated: “I dream my four little children will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Words that will resound for every underdog in the world. And in the world, if you’re white male and from the west, you’re winning the lottery. Don’t be proud, flippant or forgetful of this.
I hope International Women’s Day throws its voice loud and all people, race, wealth, faith, gender, sexuality will not be judged by anything other than ‘the content of their character’.
More must be done. By women and men. Together we stand, divided we fall.