By Daisy Flint and Emilia Barnsdale-Ward, 6.2 and Head Students
Is International Women’s Day backward thinking? Why do we celebrate women once a year? Whilst this day aims to raise the profile of females within society, it is possible that we end up focusing too much on her being a successful woman, instead of being a successful person, as if this is a rarity. Therefore, we must ask ourselves: what separates International Women’s Day from any other day? The answer we should respond with, is nothing, as a female’s achievements should be celebrated as and when they happen.
However, those who are aware and accept the gravity of sexism will answer this question realistically. Yes, International Women’s Day celebrates women’s achievements, however, this shouldn’t be an annual occasion; females aren’t only successful one day of the year. Knowing this, it could be argued that this day contributes to the fact that our generation won’t see a gender equalised society; which to those who don’t understand, is the goal of feminism. Do we end up shadowing a woman’s achievements with the fact that she is a woman?
Understandably, there are multiple points of view on this topic; for instance, by celebrating a woman’s success, society is counteracting patriarchal beliefs of women as lesser. Yet, by separating women’s success from that of a man’s, are we unconsciously propelling the stereotype that females are lesser and men in a league of their own?
Whilst these issues still exist, there are institutions who are forward thinking, such as the Sainsbury’s book prize which Bedales alumni, Anna Fargher, won for her fictional novel ‘The Umbrella Mouse’. It is important that we recognise how she won the book prize for fiction, not fiction written by a female author. Fargher’s work was therefore recognised in its own right, regardless of the author’s gender.