Today we celebrate and recognize the bravery of the women’s movement.
From the household to the workplace, the significance of women cannot be denied. It is through the undervalued reproductive labor of women that men have been able to actively enjoy the pursuit of their careers throughout the years. Even when the odds and system are stacked against them, women have made significant strides in all fields, from sports to science, in politics to pop-culture.
Generation after generation, women have been pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a woman. A girl’s right to an education, a female’s right to work, the right to suffrage, and so much more have only been made real through the collective bravery of the women who chose to fight for it.
The women of the world were not gifted their rights. It is through the irresistible force of the women’s movement that women are rightfully taking their place as equals in society – even if not yet fully.
We’re already in 2020 and yet we are still trapped by patriarchal systems where men falsely think that when a woman is able to fully enjoy her rights it takes away from theirs. We’ve come so far yet we’re still going against an ever-rising tide of strongman politics and the misogyny it carries with it.
There is a strong global effort to discredit and silence woman leaders and the Philippines is a battlefront against misogyny and strongman politics. We can see this in the public spectacle and systematic dismantling of Sen. Leila De Lima and her imprisonment, the use of lawfare to remove a dissenting female Chief Justice in Maria Lourdes Sereno, the harassment and concentrated efforts to silence targeted at veteran journalist Maria Ressa.
It is these same tactics that they use to threaten and prevent young women from speaking up. Far too often are a young woman’s credibility diminished simply due to their identity, and being threatened or subjected to rape and other sexual indignities when they claim their space.
Confronted with all of these, courageous women are there to speak and rise up. We see women survivors of the rampant extra-judicial killings leading communities through healing and their pursuit of justice. It is those who have survived sexual violence that lead campaigns to expose perpetrators and their crimes. Young women are leading the struggle for indigenous communities’ rights and global climate justice.
The threats made by strongmen and their accomplices should serve as reminders of how the victories won by the women’s movement can so easily be undone by misogynists, especially political leaders, if we do not remain steadfast and vigilant. It is important then that we come together, all genders, to continue forging a path forward and tearing down each pillar of the patriarchy we find along the way.
There is no better time for young women to resist than today. When we are brave and resist, we do so with the long, rich, and colored history of the feminist movement behind us. The continued existence and persistence of this movement is proof-positive that women will not stop until all, regardless of gender, are liberated from exploitation, abuse, and violence.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Long live the Women’s Movement!
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