If there is a first moment where International Women’s Day came to be of any significance to my mind, it was all part of the study that came from Russia’s February Revolution in 1917. While this knowledge at the time was to be remembered exclusively for A-Level exams to come later, being an already complex and eventful period of history overall, it symbolises something much more profound in that a single day alone can transform the direction of history.
Today, International Women’s Day, while not perhaps entirely associated with the same radicalism and revolutionary influence in a modern context, continues to push the need for change that is essential to improve the lives of women across the globe. Whether it be for better education provision in developing nations, as led by ONE Campaign’s ‘Poverty is Sexist’ movement, or more domestic issues here in the UK, like the recent victory to have Sex and Relationships education in all schools. Many of these issues are being spearheaded from the ground up by people not in government or in positions of policy making.
For #Emilymatters, that’s where our campaign comes in. Having been involved as part of its team for over two years now, I have seen the way in which our appeal has stretched beyond the political divide (besides country borders!) Whether it has been our chats or our support of other campaigns and organisations that push for voting engagement and equality, there is enough proof to show that there are many in the world who want to make a difference. Emily Wilding Davison, the suffragette who is the inspiration behind the campaign continues to empower new generations. :
Coming from a man’s perspective, there is progress to be made yet if women’s representation and young people’s voices at the polls in particular, are to be truly heard. Not all men share this point of view, but through inclusive campaigns like #Emilymatters that have no gender barrier as to who can be involved. We can prove to our critics that events like International Women’s Day and beyond have an important role to play.
Equality is a matter for everyone and, when it comes to the ballot box, voting really does still matter!
“Keep pushing until women and men are equal. When no child is told that she is not worthy, that her voice simply doesn’t matter, because she is a girl.”
— Emily Wilding Davison. Extract from To Freedom’s Cause by Kate Willoughby. The play remains very much a part of #Emilymatters future plans.