Happy Women’s History Month! Tomorrow, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, organized to celebrate the accomplishments of women that are so often overlooked, empower women and girls, and bring awareness to the discrimination women face worldwide. Women are more likely than men to live in poverty, a reality described by Diana Pierce nearly 30 years ago as the “Feminization of Poverty.” Women and girls experience disproportionate levels of violence, differential access to healthcare, education, and proper nutrition.
Internationally, women face barriers obtaining gainful employment, owning their own property, and having agency over their bodies. Earning potential and upward socioeconomic mobility is decreased when women are responsible for all childcare (almost always unpaid work), household responsibilities, and early childhood education. Collectively, women spend 125 million hours each day just collecting water. They will have to do it again the next day and the day after that. As women are globally more responsible for childcare, this poverty becomes an intergenerational cycle; girls who see their mothers struggle are more likely to struggle themselves.
This is not some far off problem only for those in the developing world. Disproportionate poverty rates ring true for women in the United States. In Massachusetts, 12% of women and 33% of female-headed households are living in poverty. When you break it down by race, the numbers are even more disturbing.
There is so much that can be done to offset the burden women in our communities and around the world are forced to bear. This year, International Women’s Day is also A Day Without Women, similar to A Day Without Immigrants which took place last month. Any women who is able to is asked to refrain from working tomorrow. However, we recognize what a privilege this is. Below is a list of action steps you can take to support women on International Women’s Day, all throughout March, and year-round.
- Attend an International Women’s Day event
- Wear red in solidarity with women everywhere
- If possible, refrain from shopping on March 8th
- Support women-owned businesses
- Educate your community about gender-based discrimination
- Learn about women throughout history who may not have been recognized for their accomplishments
- Stand up and speak out when you witness sexist actions and comments
- Support organizations that work to alleviate gender-based discrimination
- Practice using inclusive language
At Bread & Roses, we remember all of those women who led the marches in our namesake strike right here in Lawrence over 100 years ago. Women continue to rise every day in the struggle for equity. Support the women in your life and around the world this International Women’s Day and throughout Women’s History Month!