By Vanly Keomuda
© UNICEF Cambodia/2015/Charles Fox
What does International Women’s day mean to me?
At a first glance, the question above to me seems so ordinary and easy to answer; however, the longer I think about what to answer the more I realised that I have not put much thought into International Women’s Day. Each year, March 08th seems to me like another one of the public holidays, when I get to have a day off from school and recharge my energy from the very exhausting school works. Every year, I haven’t thought much about the meaning and the reason for the International Women’s Day celebration and surely not about what that day means to me as a woman.
Now that I have put my attention into the question, I realise that for so long, I have been taking International Women’s Day for granted. I have been so ignorant about its significance to the point that I have no emotional attachment to the day or the meaning of it. I have forgotten how significant the 8th of March is to a woman like myself and what it means for those who have suffered from gender injustice, how it means for those who are fighting the continuous struggle for women’s rights and liberty, how many sacrifices it took to have this day and how much it should be cherished and remembered.
While of think of it, the 8th of March, to me, as a woman, is not just another holiday. It is the day that we gather to advocate for gender equality, the day that says women should have equal rights to ensure that women are standing with equal footings as men. Now to me, International Women’s Day is the day that paves the way for a revolutionary thinking, leading to the opportunities that give me and other fellow women to go to school, to be able to work outside the house instead of being told that doing housework is where I am belong, and it is the day that allows me to express myself and to show that my opinion matters, it is the day that allows me to raise my voice against violence and demand protection Without International Women’s day, I would certainly not be able to write this blog about what the day means to me.
Because it has been a century since the first wave of feminist moment and because now that women in many parts of the world are treated much better, it is so easy for younger generations like myself to take International Women’s Day for granted and to be unaware of how important this day is for all of us. For this reason, to end the ignorance around this day, I would like to call all women and men, especially youth, starting from this year, to take a moment and ask yourself every year this question:
“What does International Women’s day mean to me?”
Let us take a moment to appreciate the feminist movement for women’s right and liberty that has resulted in better gender equality that we enjoy today.
Let’s celebrate the International’s Women’s Day, the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women and let’s continue to advocate for gender parity in every aspect of our lives.
Happy International Women’s Day and let’s join together in celebrating this magnificent day!
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.