My Experience of International Women’s Day

Chew Yann, an intern at WCC and Corporate Communication student shares with us her experience participating in the recent International Women’s Day celebration.

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I learned that each year International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on the 8th of March but I didn’t know why this day was chosen. Annually on the 8th of March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements. The history of IWD began with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America which decided that the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) would be observed across the United States on the 28th of February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.

Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February in 1913. In 1913, following discussions, IWD was transferred to March the 8th and this day has remained the global date for IWD ever since.

fb36In 1914, women across Europe then held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women’s solidarity. This year, International Women’s Day 2015 celebrates with the theme of Make It Happen, encouraging effective action for advancing and recognizing women’s issues. Make It Happen also can be seen as stopping the violence against women and children. This event is to raise public awareness about gender violence and for them to seek help if they or people they know are experiencing such violence. The big opening for the International Women’s Day event in Penang began with the One Billion Rising dance – “Break the Chain”. The dance and the song contain many meanings. The first part of it was telling the public to stop violence while the second part was encouraging the public to join the event so that we can stop violence together.

10711053_946112125421347_4320826536453694259_nI was a volunteer for the International Women’s Day 2015 event last Sunday, March the 8th 2015, at Penang’s ‘Occupy Beach Street’ area.

The event showed that International Women’s Day is important as it helps the public to know that empowering women is a must so women won’t become victims of violence.  8th of March is also the anniversary day of flight MH370 that went missing a year ago. We had one minute of silence to show respect to those who have left us.

The International Women’s Day event was interesting, fun and made my internship life more colourful. It was a meaningful day for me as it gave me a chance to see how a big event was held. It was different from the events that had been held during my college life. It was also a big event for WCC Penang as they were not only celebrating International Women’s Day but they also were celebrating their 30th anniversary. Many placards and banners were hung all over the streets to create public awareness.

I enjoyed the event a lot as there were many performances shown during the day. Furthermore, this event was important as women deserve safety, respect and equality. Women should be able to feel safe and not face domestic violence or sexual abuse. Women also need to be respected just as much as men. Women are human beings which is enough reason for us to respect them. Women also deserve equality since women are just as capable as men. The world should treat women equally by not looking down on them. This event taught me that empowerment of women is important and we should celebrate International Women’s Day every year.

10987338_946117618754131_7811473685783613222_nThe most memorable thing that happened during the International Women’s Day event was the One Billion Rising performance. I was involved in the performance by dancing “Break the Chain” before the public. I have never ever danced in front of many people and it made me nervous but excited. As a woman, International Women’s Day has helped me a lot especially to know that women are important in the world. Before the International Women’s Day, I thought women were weak, dependent and needed protection. Women were not able to make decisions by themselves as they depended a lot on men. I have changed my mind about women after the event. Women are as capable as men. If they are empowered, they can independent and do not need protection, because they are capable of taking care of themselves.

In future, I would like to participate or be a volunteer for International Women’s Day or other women’s programme, to help to empower women in this world.