Lucia is the women’s part-time officer for Swansea University’s Students’ Union, and is studying for a BA in Product Design Engineering.
To me, International Women’s Day means togetherness. No other day of the year is the raw beauty of human connection put on display so effortlessly and naturally as then.
It is a date very close to my heart, for it is filled to the brim with support and empathy. On IWD, we become aware of each other and all that unites us – be it our joy or our suffering. In the good and in the bad, no woman is alone on March 8 and that sheer solidarity is so empowering and refreshing that it carries throughout the year, bringing out all the energy and courage within me.
People need to understand that we celebrate IWD for ourselves. It is not an act of despotism but rather one of much needed self-care. An exercise of love. On the March 8 we stand proud of who we are as a collective and all that we can achieve as individuals. It helps us gain perspective and stay grounded, committed and on our toes, ready to move – in other words, it makes us more involved citizens.
Brands are always attracted to money-making potential: if the audience they cater for shows the slightest of feminist tendencies, then they will make sure to exploit that. I would therefore like to believe that the fact that a brand would even consider it profitable to “milk” IWD shows, in a way, how feminism has become more and more present over the years. That, in itself, is somewhat positive, one could argue. It does, however, put the movement and the image of Women’s Day in the hands of those big brands. They now get to partially control the narrative and the message surrounding it all and I can only hope they do so thoughtfully, respectfully and well informedly – a huge social responsibility like that should not be taken lightly.
It seems too early to tell if the effect of the commercialisation of IWD will be positive, but there is certainly a lot of room for fruitful and good media-business partnerships surrounding this.
I come across misconceptions about feminism and IWD more often than I would like. I think these arise from a lack of understanding and somewhat tarnish the value and mission of the movement. Therefore, I would like to see IWD become more focused on helping people fully connect with each other, promoting values of empathy and solidarity.
I would like to see more action and more volunteering – with the huge numbers that gather for marches we could build something really great together – and lastly, more real involvement from politicians and other governmental figures. After all, we can initiate the change we want to see in our societies, but it will not come into play meaningfully until it is reflected in the law, attitudes and actions of our leaders.
It simply means to be present. To be aware. To own my integrity as a human being and choose to not look away from inequality – on the contrary, to stare, fearless and shameless, pointing my finger at it so that other people do not accidentally overlook it!
It is part of my very core to react to injustice and to stand for what I believe is right – and therefore, it is within me to advocate for feminism. I cannot think of a more valuable goal than making our societies better places to live in for everybody.