I have been asked by the charity to write a piece for International Women's Day (IWD). Fresh off the back of watching Last night's Pamodzi Creatives Inspirational women's awards. An annual ceremony honoring women who have gone above and beyond in Portsmouth that makes you damn proud to be a women! One of the beautiful aspects of this ceremony (beyond the obvious) is that every award recipient is asked about her tribe, the women that supported her to where she is now standing. Because Pamodzi are fully aware that behind every woman leading the way is a thousand women who have come before her, paved the way, made her believe in herself when she felt doubt, wiped her tears, shared contacts, or resources, and cheered her on all the way.
This past year has been mostly reflecting on my own ideas of feminism, the #Blacklivesmatter movement made me take note of my own privilege, this was uncomfortable work, but nothing compared to the social injustices, prejudice and discrimination black women face daily. To be able to pick up and put down “the work” is a privilege in itself. I now identify as an intersectional feminist, a campaigner for equal gender rights who understands and acknowledges that there are unique and distinct challenges faced by subgroups of women. We do not live in an equal society that honours the gifts our gender brings to the table. But, add to this that you are not white, able-bodied, or cis and you are facing a lot more challenges that pile upon your role as WOMAN.
This year International Women's Day have set the theme of #choosetochallenge and I honestly believe this is one of the most important themes they could of chosen. I've felt my type of feminism become unsavoury for a small number of women around me, they want a whitewashed, cis-normative, and comfortable version that does not make them squirm into facing the realities of women whose lives and faces do not match their own. Being a feminist is just lip service if you are not fighting for every woman, we truly do rise together, and that is what IWD and Pamodzi and every loud and proud intersectional feminist know. We must challenge every injustice towards women, everyone, everywhere, not just the injustices that affect us.
Take for example the divisive campaign by the media focusing on trans women, and how their rights to use women's spaces are putting cis women at risk, although there is no evidence whatsoever to back this up, and that these spaces have been trans inclusive for decades, and the fact trans women are highly likely to be victims of domestic violence, or hate crimes themselves, making these services lifesaving. Regardless gender critical feminists have started a brutal campaign to strip back trans rights. I use this example because it's such a blatant example of how division within feminism takes us all a step backward. Women become again defined by their biological reproductive organs and stereotypical version of ‘women’ a definition feminists have opposed and campaigned for us to move away from for decades. We are so much more than our wombs, our ability to have children. We are multifaceted beings whose purpose goes beyond reproduction.
There are so many examples of how division within our gender makes our hopes and dreams for our daughters weaker. So today on #internationalwomensday2021 invite you to #choosetochallenge your ideas of feminism, stretch, question, get uncomfortable and beyond your own situation. Learn from feminists that include all women: Black women, brown women, Indigenous women, #LGBTQ+ women, disabled women, refugee women, migrant women, sex workers, neurodiverse women and of course girls. Lets listen, lets elevate their voices and their stories, it will benefit us all.
So, if you follow an amazing feminist drop her social media details below so that we can all grow as women.
Happy International Women's Day from us all at Endometriosis South coast.
Image by @makedaisychains