On one level, it’s a lovely idea that there’s a special day each year across the world where women are fore-grounded and celebrated: International Women’s Day. But of course, women—all of us, regardless of sex—deserve the right to be championed and respected every single day.
That said, just for a moment, let’s focus on what March 8 will commemorate. It's fascinating to discover that International Women’s Day is over a century old. The first one took place in 1911, while the fight for universal suffrage for women was in full swing in many countries across the world, and still had many barriers to overcome.
Generations later, we owe so much to the courage and determination of those who campaigned so hard for the vote, not forgetting those who remained excluded and marginalised until the 1960s (in Australia and the US) and yet still found the strength to care for Country and community.
With all these trailblazing women in mind, on this International Women’s Day we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate the strong intergenerational bonds that women create: the sharing of strength, learning, wisdom, courage and mentorship between grandmothers and aunties, sisters, friends, mothers and daughters. As a new mother to a growing daughter I hope to influence her the way I was influenced by my mother, aunties, grandmother, stepmother and many other strong women.
But it’s not only about the knowledge that’s passed down from older women. We’re constantly being refreshed and inspired by the spirit, intelligence and perspectives of younger women in our families, workplaces, political realms and communities all over the world. The women who won’t back down and submit to inequity or injustice. The women, who just by speaking out, risk their lives and livelihoods, yet do it anyway.
When we think of them and of the inspiring women who came before us, it’s a lot to celebrate, support and be grateful for, and one day is totally inadequate. Nevertheless, happy International Women’s Day from Koala Eco to all you extraordinary women!