On March 8, women around the world took to social media and the streets to celebrate and speak out for International Women’s Day. The day focused on women’s achievement and rights began to be observed in 1908 and has since grown to be celebrated all over the globe.
This year’s International Women’s Day gained more attention than in years past because women’s rights have been at the forefront of conversations everywhere since the election of President Donald Trump. In January, five million people
worldwide participated in a global protest for women’s rights and equality following the inauguration of the president. In the march’s aftermath, organizers planned A Day Without A Woman, a general strike, to fall on International Women’s Day. The strike, if it can be called that, rallied women to stay home from work and only spend money at women-owned businesses. Those who couldn’t miss work were asked to wear red in solidarity.
While this facet of the women’s movement gained attention in major cities on multiple continents, the strike’s ripples weren’t nearly as far reaching as the Jan. 21st marches. In larger cities, protests and demonstrations took place, women didn’t show up to work, others who still went to their jobs Wednesday wore red in support. The movement is trying to ride the momentum of earlier in the year and see some real change come for women around the world, but we wonder if actual progress will remain some far-off ideal, forever stuck in conversations among women who can afford to have them.
In and around our campus, most of what we saw and heard regarding International Women’s Day were positive and uplifting remarks on social media of women who impacted students lives. There were no notable gatherings of men and women in red, no blows to the local economy, no visible evidence of a demand for change and equality. To some, it might have seemed like any other instagrammable day, like National Best Friend’s Day or even Mother’s Day. Even for those who have no intention of ever protesting, they’re connected by default to a day celebrating women pushing back against inequalities.
Social media has an incredible capacity to connect people across the globe to spread awareness for causes. Days like International Women’s Day have the power to bring people together in celebration of women despite differences and even opposing views. But how long can a hashtag propel a movement?
Ultimately, protesters and supporters of the women’s movement will have to be willing to do more than post a picture on Instagram to see change reflected in policy, pay and representation.