Today, over one-hundred years after women were granted the right to vote in the United Kingdom, we celebrate International Women's Day. While the fight for gender equality is not over, we are able to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of those women who have dedicated, and are still dedicating, their lives to the advancement and appreciation of women all over the world.
Decades prior to women being granted the right to vote in national elections, the women's suffrage movement began to take hold in all areas of society. However, what is largely recognised in the media today as having had contributed to women's suffrage, only begins to cover the surface of how the movement actually progressed. During the early 19th century in the United States, female led anti-slavery societies began to emerge in many cities across the country. Whilst advocating for the abolition of slavery, these groups of women would also put their progressive political values towards the fight for African-American women's right to vote. As a white feminist, I can say that I feel very ashamed to have only recently learned how the intersectionality between race and gender made the fight for these women more difficult than any other suffragettes' in history. Not only were they oppressed by the domineering white male population of society, they were also silenced by both the men within their communities and the white women within the suffragette movement. Harriet Forten Purvis, was an African-American abolitionist and feminist, who became close friends with Susan B. Anthony during the women's suffrage movement in the United States in the mid 19th century. While I'm sure that the name Susan B. Anthony rings a bell for many of us from our days in school, I must admit that Harriet's name was new to me. Nearly two centuries after her contribution to the women's movement, Harriet Forten Purvis is still fighting for recognition in our classrooms and within the media, all because we have failed as a society to recognise the struggles that women of colour have faced in a fight for equality. Intersectional feminism, in this instance, stands to recognise that the experiences and struggles of women of colour are not the same as non-women of colour, and it is of extreme importance that we offer our support to all women. Perhaps this women's day, we can try our best to purge all of the insincere social media posts that congratulate us on our biology, and instead put all of our efforts towards appreciating those women who have fought for us and gone unnoticed, and educating ourselves on the true history of women's suffrage.
To be a woman is to be super human! Not to mean that we have any more physical abilities than the male gender, only that we have the extraordinary ability to overcome the obstacles that a patriarchal society has put into place for us. To unite our struggles as women and to love each other fearlessly is one of the greatest abilities we have been given, and to show appreciation for that everyday is our duty.