Happy International Women’s Day: Feminism is STILL for everybody!

Here’s a little ditty about International Women’s Day and inclusion.

Way back in the olden days, when I worked at The Link (Concordia University’s student newspaper), it was considered a tradition that the International Women’s Day week paper was put together entirely by the female members of the staff. Which I guess was meant to be empowering, back in the day, when women weren’t a regular fixture in the world of journalism or as prominent in newspaper offices? But in 2007, it seemed more like, “Oh, hey, it’s International Women’s Day, let’s dump even MORE work on the women staffers while the boys go out and play!”

So we, the women staffers, said HELL NO to that, and instead we said if you’re going to work on this issue, you’re going to respect and defer to the women on this staff. We’ve got a female Editor-in-Chief already (shout-out to Misha Warbanski, who was our fearless leader at that time!), so it’s not much different in that regard. But you’re also going to afford each individual section editor and regular contributor that same respect that you give to our EIC. Because they deserve it. Because they work just as hard if not harder than the men on this staff do. They turn in their pieces on time. They help with the copy editing and proofreading. They are here for meetings. They go to our events. They support the staff. They show up for the paper. And men shouldn’t get a day off from respecting women and honoring their contributions; they should be here in the room, present, and OBVIOUSLY SUPPORTING US on a day that is meant to respect and honor women.

The men went on the donut and coffee run that day. (They sometimes went anyway, but this was a very ceremonial, purposeful act.)

They contributed to sections they normally didn’t engage with, or took on assignments they normally would’ve avoided as “women’s issues.” They took a second look.

They helped with things, in some cases as they always did. And in some cases, they stepped it up.

It was a good way to celebrate women, without kicking the men out of the office, or telling them they “didn’t belong.” Of course they did, and do. But their role was different that day, and that’s what we wanted to call attention to. That’s what we wanted them to see, and share.

The goal of feminism is not Women In Charge, Men Excluded. It’s not even about equality as a 50/50 split. The goal of feminism is inclusion for everyone, of every gender, every sexual identity, every ethnicity and culture and religion, every level of age or ability. It’s about diversity. It’s about recognizing there’s so much more to the world than the POV of a straight white able-bodied man. It’s about mosaics, not melting pots. (At least in Canada, anyway!)

Feminism is for everybody. And it’s sad to me that so many people still think it’s not meant for *them*.

International Women’s Day celebrates women’s contributions, in a world that still prizes male contributions MORE. For 24 hours (only 23 today, THANKS DST!), we get the spotlight. It’s becoming a little less rare that our achievements go uncelebrated for the other 364 days of the year. We’re getting more and more pieces of the puzzle together. But it’s still important and significant to take the time to tell the women of this world that they matter. Each and every one of us. That we’re not “less than” in any way. We are complete, in and of ourselves. We are strong and capable and intelligent and important. We each have our own skills and abilities and talents and achievements, and we are all awesome, not in spite of our femininity, but because of it.

Happy International Women’s Day to all of the women in my life, and to all the women I haven’t met yet. Today is your day. You deserve a medal! How will you celebrate?


If you’re feeling charitable today and would like to support a woman’s work, I’m currently in the process of applying for a writing residency and could use the $45 application fee. Donate here!

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