Friday 8 March 2013

International Women's Day? Not in my name, comrades.

A couple of decades ago, International Women's Day was virtually unheard of in the UK outside Students' Unions, Socialist Worker meetings and feminist support groups, but in recent years it has taken on a higher profile, being acknowledged in the mainstream media and is seen as a good day to launch so called "woman friendly" policies and campaigns by governments and international NGOs.

I'm a woman, but I'm not having any of it. Started by the US Socialist Party in 1909, the idea of "celebrating" women's potential to be more than "just" wives and mothers took off throughout Europe. It was an International Women's Day protest that kicked off the Russian Revolution on 8th March 1917 and after the October revolution Lennin was persuaded by Bolsheviks to make IWD a national holiday.

Today it's used to ferment far more insidious social change, usually dressed up as women's health or human rights (a.k.a. shorthand for abortion, contraception and quirkie divorce among other goodies). In some former communist countries, where IWD is taken for granted as a Good Thing, Mother's Day no longer exists - it was subsumed into International Women's Day. Think about the original purpose of IWD and then consider the fact that Mother's Day has been done away with.

For those who think I'm overreacting to a nice excuse to celebrate all things womanly (or who will accuse me of being a 'self hating woman' -- actually, don't bother, I only publish comments that I like: this blog is not a democracy) please consider the following: the British government in this time of austerity is spending 2.9 million Pounds on the services of a pair of "relationship gurus" to train an army of relationship counsellors to help couples understand that the source of their problems is Tradition. Yes, that's right, traditional gender roles, where, for example, a mother looks after her young children while the father provides for them is toxic according these 'experts', and our government is determined - to the tune of three million pounds - to make sure that this message is sent out loud and clear. See here for more details. being a full time mother (and yes, there is another sort) who is committed to her marriage and family, you'll have to forgive me if I can't get excited about International Women's Day, or being told by the government that I'm either oppressed or stupid for following the biological imperative of being a wife and mother.

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