I’ll admit that I was curious about the origins of International Women’s Day – after all, shouldn’t every day be a day to honor women? And aren’t people always making up things like “National Milk Chocolate Day”?
But I found out that this celebration is rooted in a long and honorable history of social activism. The first national Woman’s Day was held across the United States on February 28, 1909. Here is an excellent article from the University of Chicago on the origins and growth of IWD. It’s impressive.
Women in the arts have long known that there is a history of gender disparity in our cultural field. I’m old enough to remember the “Artist and Models Balls” where the guys were the artists and the women were their models. And the term “woman artist” (like, what – as opposed to a “real” artist?) is still common – but that’s a whole ‘nother issue. Any race or gender qualifier that precedes the word “artist” can be both problematic and definitive.
Women have historically faced challenges due to gender biases, finding difficulty selling their work and gaining recognition. I love this Guerrilla Girls poster:
Times really are changing, though. I am so lucky to know scores of powerful women in the arts who are expressing themselves in diverse media with diverse voices. They are leading by example in the arts and in society. Check out this list on the GAGA website, for example!
Leading by example and possessing a gender parity mindset drive positive action and change. When diversity and inclusion are celebrated, equality thrives. Championing women’s equality across all spheres is very important.
Because the arts are close to my heart, I applaud my female friends who are making a difference through their unique creativity in every medium. Happy International Women’s Day!