Race Matters

International Women's Day 2019: What did you do?

Women all over the country - and indeed the globe - have been celebrating the 8 March this week.

International Women's Day (IWD) has its roots in women's activism. For more than a century it has been a moment to call for better employment rights, equal pay and an end to gendered violence. 

In some contexts IWD has developed into a mainstream celebration, with less of the activism and more of a carnival feel. In Italy and Russia, for example, the day mimics Valentine's Day, with men giving their female family members gifts and mimosa flowers.

Yet in recent years, feminist activism has fought to reclaim the day, in the UK and beyond.

This weekend, events such as the BME-led Million Women Rise march through central London and the Women of the World ('WOW') festival at the Southbank are now in their 12th and 10th years, respectively. Both have a carnival feel as well as a serious message.

Meanwhile, women all over the UK went on strike yesterday, protesting 'destitution, overwork and daily violence.'

It is important to note the significant presence of black and minority (BME) women in this resurgence of activism. It is widely acknowledged that facets of the feminist movement are still blighted by racism, and women of colour must experience the intersection of both racist and sexist oppression. 

In terms of research, the Women's Budget Group (WBG) released its Triple Whammy report, putting the spotlight on the different ways in which local government budget cuts are devastating women. Runnymede has worked with the WBG in the past to highlight how, again, this kind of economic disadvantage has a heightened impact on BME women.

Whatever you are doing this weekend, or have done this week, to celebrate or protest, more power to you :-)

Feel free to tweet @RunnymedeTrust and let us know how you marked International Women's Day 2019.

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