FDN x International Womens Day

Consider yourself tech-savvy? The most talked about topic on Facebook 2017. Do you know it was? Take a guess. How about one of most ardently idolised American sports; Super Bowl? Or the benefit concert One Love Manchester, uniting our much-loved city?

Well, it may surprise you to know that the most talked about topic was actually “International Woman’s Day,” which is held annually on 8th March.  

2017 was a year when the much-admired Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment by actress Ashley Judd. A man who helped shape classics such as “Pulp Fiction,” “King’s Speech” and “Shakespeare in Love” is a monumental figure in the Hollywood industry. It is hard to comprehend that his movies have earned more than 3 hundred Oscar nominations (imagine that!), and so stating that this accusation came as a shock to the globe is a colossal understatement. This incrimination sparked waves across the globe, igniting a fire inside men and woman to stand in unison against sexual harassment and assault.

“The Silence Breakers” headline was boldly splattered across Times’ newspapers voicing, shouting even, against men truncating woman’s careers especially in the showbiz industry. You may have heard or even hash tagged the #MeToo slogan on social media in a sign of defiance against sexual abuse. The #MeToo campaign represented a global stage where men and woman (including Judd, Taylor Swift, Angelina Jolie) could express their atrocious experiences.

International Woman’s Day has been gaining momentum and recognition with every year, but its origin was marked in history 107 years ago. The day was first suggested in New York at the International Women’s Conference in 1909 but was observed on 8th March after a magnanimous victory for women in Soviet Russia. It came at a time when these women had battled and successfully won their right to vote. Sick of hunger, long working hours in the textile industry and relentless war efforts, they went on strike for “Bread and Peace,” demanding an end to the tireless World War I and for a chance to feed their starving families. Little did they know that their humble strike would set into motion a cascade of events leading to the outbreak of the Revolution. People took to the streets in a mass strike leaving no choice for the Emperor of Russia, Nicola II to abdicate and grant provisional suffrage for women. The courage, bravery, struggle for peace and liberation of these women was commemorated and a public holiday granted. The world watched in awe at these unprecedent events which sent shock waves through continents. Other communist countries followed suit with China celebrating “Woman’s Day” in 1922 granting women a half-a-day off work.

107 year later, the world has observed a substantial change in the way women are viewed and treated but it is an on-going process. There is still a gender pay gap, a constant drive to further women in education and a push for women in power in male-dominated careers. Slowly perhaps, but we are obtaining results. We have female astronauts, prime ministers, our own country is ruled by the Queen; an independent woman and role model to many. She has led us through the tough times of post-World War II depression and beyond. Many women have pioneered the world as we know it; Marie Curie through science, Jane Austen through her beloved characters Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy, J.K. Rowling through her fantasy novels read worldwide, resounding strongly with the masses especially those coming-of-age and uncertain of their future. Or Maya Angelou whose heartfelt poems and strive for civil rights plucked on the heartstrings of many. They should all be remembered, and inspiration sought from them.

So why not come to foundation coffee house and celebrate this momentous day? Using Beyoncé’s iconic lyrics; for “all the women who are independent,” come and embrace your womanhood. Take a day out of your busy schedule and celebrate your rights and freedom. For all the men reading this blog, why not take your loved one, mother, daughter, sister or friend and pamper her? She is unique, strong and beautiful. Treat her.

From 12pm onwards, we will have live music, as well as an abundant selection of scrumptious foods and many pop-up stalls to explore. Comedians and DJs will be resident to liven the party and entertain you. To celebrate our sisterhood, we will be welcoming an all-female local trader line-up consisting of Plant Shop, Zen Den Décor, Fernades Makes, Lost Cosmos, Wild Flower and many more. So, make your way down here for a packed day of entertainment, laughs, woman-power, food and lots of coffee! Help make a difference by hash tagging #PressforProgress on social media, taking pictures and connecting with women across the globe. Let’s raise the profile of International Women’s Day even more than 2017!

Written by Pooja Vadhva