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Silenced voices: International Women’s Day

On this day, we remember the women around the world who were and are silenced and oppressed.   |   Courtesy of Morgan Mitchell

 

March is Women’s History Month and this Wednesday, March 8, is International Women’s Day. According to the International Women’s Day website, this holiday is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This past Sunday, people participated in a march and rally in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters to celebrate women all over the world and protest the deportation and ban of immigrant and refugee women.

Emotionally charged moments

There were emotionally charged moments, like when a black Muslim woman spoke on her experience of oppression and hate crimes here in America or when the crowd chanted “Say it loud! Say it clear! Immigrants are welcome here!” People in the deportation cells were tapping on their walls and shining mirrors out of the narrow slots of glass between concrete in their windows so the protestors could see them. The women with the microphone were shouting at them that they are welcome here and that those partaking in the rally are fighting for them.

Another woman spoke of all the black women killed by the LAPD — in particular, Wakiesha Wilson, who authorities claim committed suicide in a Los Angeles jail a year ago. Her family, though, believes she was killed due to facts surrounding her arrest and alleged suicide not adding up and them not being notified of her death until about 76 hours after Wilson died, according to the L.A. Times. The same article reports twelve people died in LAPD custody in 2014 and the L.A. Times also reported 34 percent of the 228 people killed by law enforcement in Los Angeles County between Jan. 1, 2000, and Aug. 31, 2014 were black, which is a disproportionately high number in a county and city where less than 10 percent of residents are black.

Statistics to remember

These statistics are important to remember on International Women’s Day, because in order to achieve gender equality, society needs to realize the extra amount of oppression and inequality women of color face in this city, country and around the world. According to Reuters, the World Economic Forum estimated it would take up to the year 2186 to achieve global gender equality.

Other statistics important to remember as we celebrate this day are: one in three women will be abused physically or sexually in their lifetime, 62 million girls are denied access to education worldwide, one girl under the age of 15 is married every seven seconds and perpetrators of sexual violence are less likely to go to jail or prison than other criminals.

There is also a general strike happening on International Women’s Day in the United States, planned by the Women’s March organizers, called “A Day Without a Woman.” Women are to take the day off on March 8, from paid and unpaid labor, avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses), and wear red in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman. This is in response to a sexual predator, a title Trump did not object to in a 2006 interview with Howard Stern, being elected into the White House who has a history of making sexist comments.

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