Bridgwater Labour Party are standing 20 candidates in the May elections. For the second election running we’ve managed 50-50 male/female. Today on International Women’s Day we asked 2 of those candidates to say what the day means to them.
Meg continues “Women around the world are standing shoulder to shoulder with their international sisters, leaving pushchairs and prams at railway stations for arriving refugees and packing sanitary products by the lorry load. My eyes are filled with tears, but my heart is filled with hope. How incredible we are, full of beautiful resistance. How mighty we are in our thinking, our intuition, our love. And what a gift we are to one another and to this world… My friend and former colleague Jill Rowe (Ethos and Formation director at Oasis UK) writes, as if to caption the moving images set before me. These stories are not isolated to this conflict but are echoed around the world as I am reminded of women who have fought to hold up and serve communities through a global pandemic and served tirelessly to provide humanitarian and medical aid. Standing on the shoulders of the giants who have come before us, women must continue to fight in a new and innovative way, using our international sisters as inspiration. We must carry forward the work of the women who came before us to ensure there are no obstacles to the dreams and achievements of future generations.”
Flowers for Peace
Bridgwater Branch Chair is Irena Hubble . She is standing for Town in the Fairfax West ward where she is a teacher. It’s also her first time. Today she went out with a special purpose in mind. Irena says “Women are not good celebrating their achievements – however small and international women’s day gives us all a chance to do this. Last night I thought about how important it is to mark THIS day in this particular year. The talk is of war and the increasing militarism around the globe and no word yet of peace and how we can achieve it. Women should be the bringers of peace and harmony and so today in my own small way I decided this might be possible in Bridgwater. I bought a bunch of daffodils and standing by the Blake statue I gave out a flower to any female who would take one. The response was overwhelmingly positive and full of surprise. Such a simple gesture but it brought more warmth than I ever imagined. A number of the women were from Eastern Europe- International Women’s Day has a long tradition in all Eastern European countries. These women looked me in the eye and smiled. I wished them peace and we knew exactly what we meant without uttering another word.”
The origins of International Women’s Day
In 1907, the International Conference of Socialist Women convened in Stuttgart, Germany, proclaiming as its main demand ‘the right to universal female suffrage without qualifications of property, tax, education or any other kind of barrier which may hinder members of the working class from availing themselves of their political rights.’ The previous year, socialist working women in the US had designated a ‘Women’s Day’ — ‘an event,’ the Copenhagen conference reported the following year, ‘that has awakened the attention of our enemies.’ Following the example of their American comrades, the German delegate Luise Zietz proposed the proclamation of an ‘International Women’s Day,’ to be celebrated annually. Clara Zetkin seconded the proposal, along with one hundred female delegates from seventeen countries.
The first International Women’s Day was celebrated not on March 8 but on March 19, 1911. The date was chosen to commemorate the 1848 Revolution in Berlin. Simply put, International Women’s Day was, from the very beginning, a Working Women’s Day. While its immediate objective was to win universal female suffrage, its aspirations were much grander: the overthrow of capitalism and the triumph of socialism.