Wednesday March 8, 2017 marked International Women’s Day and with it a wave a global demonstrations aimed at dismantling an international patriarchy that only appears to be gaining more steam. International Women’s Day 2017 was well timed with Icelandic Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson’s visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York City on March 8. During his visit, Benediktsson announced the Icelandic government’s historical legislative initiative to require equal pay for women by 2020. If achieved, Iceland (a nation with a parliament that is nearly equally divided between male and female legislators) will become the first nation in the history of the world to guarantee equal pay regardless of sex.
In Paris, French women walked out of work to protest the nearly 26% difference in pay they receive opposite their male counterparts. In Buenos Aires, Argentine women marched outside the Congreso de la Nacion Argentina to raise awareness on the harrowing statistic that an Argentine women is killed every 30 hours. In Rome, over 20,000 Italian women and men congregated outside the Colosseum sporting pink accessories in resistance to wage inequality and domestic violence.
On a local note, a massive demonstration took place at San Jose City Hall when over 500 women dressed in red rallied in favor of reproductive rights, equality in the workplace, paid maternity leave and protection against sexual assault. President pro Tempore of the California State Senate Kevin de Leon (D) gave a keynote address to commemorate the occasion. In the speech, de Leon recalled the life struggle of his mother, a Mexican-American immigrant with a third grade education who raised him and his five other siblings by herself. The demonstration in San Jose was peaceful and no arrests were made.
The central theme around International Women’s Day 2017 was “A Day Without a Woman” which culminated with a series of independently-organized strikes. March 8, 2017 will mark a day in which women made monumental progress in showing a seemingly male-dominant world that women are vital to a thriving global environment and thus deserve equal rights/wages once and for all.