Editor’s Note: This article is, at least in part, a response to Dana Mills’s piece published on Labour Vision earlier today here.

As I write, thousands of individuals are marching for women through the streets of London, undoubtedly defiant regardless of the down-pouring of rain, only weeks after millions marched as Women Against Trump. The demographics of those individuals are expansive, complex, and unifying in their individuality. The uniting factor? Their strong belief in the women’s movement and the continued quest for absolute equality.

With International Women’s Day fast approaching on 8th March, it is important to reflect on where we came from and where we are going. The world does not look the same as it did on the first National Women’s Day in the USA in 1909. It has even changed dramatically since the Bejing Declaration in in 1995. Quite rightly, the feminist agenda has shifted along with it. Feminists are no longer confined to the left – the movement has exploded across every barrier. Gender mainstreaming has become a global project that integrates across frontiers, politics, domesticity, races, sexes, and classes.

Dana Mills states her article that International Women’s Day has ‘lost its roots in the struggle and become appropriated by capitalism’. I put it to you that International Women’s Day does not belong to Marxists. That the struggle is not enclosed within the working class. That the Marxist Feminist is not the only type of Feminist. That the women’s movement is not a movement designed for the working woman, or even for the woman who wants to work. Even Marx refers to the struggle of women within the upper classes from familial oppression.[1] It has always been an inclusive movement that should, and on the most part does, celebrate intersectionality.

Intersectionality may be concept new to many. So allow me to introduce to the concept through the words of Kimberlé Crenshaw, an American Professor:

The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity”[2] 

Not only are the definitions of ‘feminism’ and ‘the women’s movement’ changing, but so are the issues themselves. Although still imperative, the fight for legal equality is no longer the primary concern for many women. Instead, we shift to the abstract concepts of femininity and masculinity. I refer you to the work of Christine Chinkin and Hiliary Charlesworth[3], who attack the binary definitions, stating that they can no longer be attached to a ‘woman’ or a ‘man’. Anne-Marie Slaughter, a brilliantly accomplished lawyer, writes in The Guardian: ‘care is no longer a woman’s job any more than breadwinning is a man’s.’[4]

So I ask, is an International Working Women’s Day actually a representation of our society? And pertinently, is it a representation of today’s women’s movement? We unite in our journey for unquestioned choice in all aspects of our lives, and we unite regardless of our backgrounds and struggles. The women’s movement is one that forgets the political left or right, and runs through the working class all the way to the upper class. It would be obtuse and divisive to force us years into the past. We keep moving forward together, and look to progression not regression. Don’t put me into a Marxist Feminist box, but fly that red flag proudly at any International Women’s Day event.

Persuaded or not, head to the upcoming discussion ‘Feminism is for Everyone’. A panel of brilliant men and women will be talking and expanding minds. Modern feminism in action.

http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=9b096c9e607fbd256b4fab080&id=867444b3f9&e=293f1b7a1e

[1] Karl Marx, “Peuchet on Suicide,” in Eric Plaut and Kevin Anderson, eds.,Marx on Suicide (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1999), originally 1846.

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10572435/Intersectional-feminism.-What-the-hell-is-it-And-why-you-should-care.html

[3] Charlesworth, Hilary, and Christine Chinkin. 2002. “Sex, Gender, and September 11.” The American Journal of International Law 96 (3): 600–605.

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/feb/27/anne-marie-slaughter-care-is-not-a-womans-job-any-more-than-breadwining-is-a-mans