The Netherlands has made great progress in gender equality. However, this does not mean the fight is over. Womxn and allies took the streets on Sunday, March 8th, commemorating International Women’s Day to raise awareness on a centuries-long battle that is of high-importance all over the world. The Women’s March in Amsterdam is a call to continue the battle on equal rights and a celebration of visibility.
Although the march for International Women’s day was remarkably different in Amsterdam than in my hometown, Mexico City, the Dutch capital was full of witty signs and contagious energy that incites all generations to continue fighting for equality. The meaning I have given to women’s day has changed enormously throughout the years I have witnessed it.
In Mexico, March 8th would be and still is considered by some as the day to give flowers to special women in people’s lives such as mothers, daughters, romantic partners, sisters, etc. However, how does this perception reflect what this day initially stood for? As an observance established by the United Nations to reminisce on a garment workers’ strike in 1908 in which women demanded better working conditions, giving flowers to women who have been fed with romantic narratives their entire lives sounds like a convenient way of deviating them from uniting and protesting.
Following De Beauvoir’s observation in The Second Sex, “They [women] live dispersed among the males, attached through residence, housework, economic condition, and social standing to certain men […] more firmly than they are to other women.” In turn, this has led to centuries of male domination. Today, mobilization and occupying the streets has become characteristic of women’s day, as a focal point for women’s rights. To my amazement, what has changed the most in my surroundings, as well as in the media, is the unification of womxn to demand equality and safety. As fundamental human rights remain to be a privilege, feminists in Mexico and all over the world are having momentum.
Kate Millet raised the point of the personal and the political being intertwined. I refuse to believe that my stance on all humans being deserving of rights should be any different than my political acts, for which, like many others, I decide to raise my voice. It is heartbreaking to read the news every day and realize that so-called “minorities” continue to live oppressed and some, in fear while white supremacist systems only serve those in power. Many and different battles are fought all around the world in the hope of a better future. As unforgiving every day might be, some moments of unity are moving enough to keep us going as we learn of all intersecting identities and realities.
Despite the different demands that women’s groups protest for in their respective countries, feminism has spread throughout the world to conscientize individuals. The systemic and systematic oppression that womxn and the LGBTTQIA+ community undergo is not a secret. Nevertheless, sometimes it seems as if the world, and locally Dutch society, was in collective denial of the work still to be done regarding equality. Because of this, the streets of Amsterdam were full of hope and the spark of the coming revolution. A community of womxn and allies that wishes for prosperity leading one of many fights in the hope of stopping being “The Other”.
“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”
– Maya Angelou