Last Updated: August 10, 2018, 12:33 pm

Include all women in International Women’s Day


From what originated in 1910, International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

On March 8, the world celebrated International Women’s Day, which was tailored to pressing for progress — movement dedicated to pressing forward and progressing gender parity.

As a female college student soon to be going out into the workforce, I am glad to see that we are taking strides toward establishing gender parity.

Though our ancestors have provided us with voting rights, and many firsts in history there is still so much future generations of women can accomplish.

The Vote

Being granted the liberty to vote is a big deal – and up until 1920, women were not allowed this.  

During the women’s suffrage movement, women were able to get a lot of things done. Those of which included the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

While the women’s suffrage movement gained white women popularity, it left African women out of the picture. 

Not only did these African women have their right to vote withheld from them because of their sexes, but because of their races too. 

I can understand why men were allowed to vote years before women could, but why did it take so long to grant African women this right? It is outrageous that African women were withheld from this civil right for as long as they were. 

Sojourner Truth, an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist, spoke at the Address to the First Annual Meeting of the American Equal Rights Association and argued that giving African men the right to vote without affording African women the same right only promoted African men’s dominance.

Truth then went on to say: “There is a great stir about colored men getting their rights, but not a word about the colored women; and if colored men get their rights and not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before.”

After fighting for their right to vote,  African women were finally gained the right to do so in 1965 — 45 years after white women were granted this right.

Trans Women

As an LGBTQ+ ally, I completely agree with the belief that trans women should be celebrated on International Women’s Day. With how much the LGBTQ+ community has accomplished, it’s silly that people would even consider leaving trans women out.

Simone de Beauvoir, a female philosopher and writer, wrote in her book, The Second Sex, that “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”

Women are women in every aspect. And though Beauvoir’s book was written over six decades ago, it is still relevant today. 

Take Gabrielle Bouchard, for example. She is the first trans president of the Fédération des femmes du Québec, feminist organization which has lobbied for women’s rights for over half a century.

When she was voted into office, she was faced with the argument that trans women couldn’t possibly understand what it is like to be a woman. She challenged those who opposed her coming into office and is doing an outstanding job in her position. 

Denise Balkissoon, a weekly Opinion columnist for The Globe and Mail said, being a woman is a social category and a personal, political identification — it’s not shared by everyone with female genitalia, and not off-limits to those whose bodies mark them as male, or otherwise.


Now, more than ever, there has been a strong call-to-action for everybody — not just women, to press forward and progress gender parity.

As a women living in the digital age, it is amazing to see how much activists can accomplish through social media. The trending hashtag, #PressForProgress, is being seen as the theme for International Women’s Day this year.

World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, equal pay is over two centuries away. While this may seem like a long time away, the good news is that across the world women are making positive strides toward crushing the parity day by day.

For example, when the USA Women’s Hockey team adopted the #BeBoldForChange theme to their brand, they were supported by fans. It was when they went on to rally for equal pay and boycotted the national finals when they received further support from fans and other teams playing in the finals. 

To learn more about international women’s day and ways you can get involved, visit