This Wednesday, March 8th is International Women’s Day 2023.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day to celebrate the ‘social, economic, cultural, and political improvements of women’.
While IWD celebrates women’s achievements, it also serves as a reminder for us to come together for women’s equality. This year’s theme is ‘Embrace equity’ – but what does that mean?
On the International Women’s Day website, they champion that equity isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’, it’s a must-have. Equity is about recognising that people don’t begin life in the same place, embracing equity means understanding the different journeys different women must take to achieve equality.
The aim of IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity theme is to get the world talking about why ‘equal opportunities’ aren’t enough, especially if that means giving everyone exactly the same thing. Equity can be defined as giving people and communities what we need to be successful, taking into account our different lived experiences and the range of barriers and opportunities we all face.
Quoting Susan K Gardner, the article ends with this: “Equality is giving everyone a shoe. Equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits.”
Being part of the change
We can all be part of the change by actively supporting and embracing equity. This can be challenging gender stereotypes, calling out discrimination, having open discussions, and championing genuine inclusion.
While collectively as a society we have made great progress with gender equality, this hasn’t always been the case. Centuries ago, female writers such as Jane Austen, the Brontës and Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot) used male pseudonyms, masking their female identity, in order to publish their great work. It is only recently (the late 19th century) that female writers have made their voices heard.
Celebrating female writers for IWD
To celebrate IWD here at Your East Sussex, we have put together a short list of some of our favourite contemporary female writers and their books. While this is a non-exhaustive list, these are women we can all draw inspiration from. Let us know your favourite women writers and how you are celebrating IWD!
Dolly Alderton – Everything I know about love
Dolly is a British Author, Journalist, and podcast host who has gained notoriety with her honest ‘oh it’s not just me?’ style of writing.
Dolly’s ‘Everything I know about love’ is a beautiful biography of friendship between women and the collective experiences we all go and grow through.
Dolly details the highs and lows of dating, jobs, growing older, and the unity friendships provide.
“Nearly everything I know about love, I’ve learnt from my long-term friendships with women.”
This biography reminds us that the most profound relationships are not just our love interests, but the ones with our women friends.
A great book for: if you’re going through heartbreak or want to celebrate friendship. Easily devoured over a weekend.
Bell Hooks – All about love
Gloria Jean Watkins, or Bell Hooks as she was more commonly known, was an American author and activist who made a pivotal contribution to black feminist thought.
Bell’s work spanned a multitude of genres and styles, including poetry, memoirs, essays, and children’s books over a four-decade period.
In her writing, Bell reflected on issues with love being at the heart of healing.
All about love explores the question of what exactly is love, and what we are taught it is. Bell advocates for harnessing the power of love which in turn can end struggles not just between individuals, but communities and societies.
“The word ‘love’ is most often defined as a noun, yet…we would all love better if we used it as a verb”.
A great book for: those looking to explore love at a deeper, more intellectual level.
Emma Dabiri – Don’t touch my hair
Emma Dabiri is an Irish author, academic, activist, and broadcaster.
Don’t touch my hair is her 2019 debut that is widely hailed as a ground-breaking investigation into black hair.
“Straightened. Stigmatized. ‘Tamed’. Celebrated. Erased. Managed. Appropriated. Forever misunderstood. Black hair is never ‘just hair”.
Don’t touch my hair is part memoir, detailing the many experiences of racism that Emma has experienced, and part social and philosophical commentary.
Examining the history of African hair, Emma takes us on an intellectual journey that offers an expansive record of black people’s hair. From forgotten tales to new theories, this is a book not to be missed.
A great book for: learning about the historical, cultural, and political importance of black hair. A must-read for everyone.
Sayaka Murata – Convenience store woman
Sayaka Murata is a Japanese writer, regarded as one of the most exciting up-and-coming women writers due to the huge success of her novel, ‘Convenience store woman’.
Despite her success, Sayaka still works part-time in a store, which helped inspire the story of Keiko Furukura.
Keiko is a shop assistant in a local branch of ‘Smile Mart’ who struggles to connect with other people. The store enables her to learn the rules of social interaction and how to appear ‘normal’.
“If I were born again, I would choose to be a woman,”
Convenience store woman is an eerie, depressing, and unusually funny story of a very unlikely heroine.
A great book for: reading in one day, but the story will stay with you forever!
Melissa Broder – Milk fed
Melissa is an Author, poet and the owner of the renowned Twitter account ‘so sad today’. Hailed as one of the most relatable writers out there, Melissa openly shares her own personal battles with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and drug addiction.
“When somebody takes off their mask and is real about their issues, even if your problems are different, there’s a fundamental commonality among human emotion”.
Milk fed follows the story of Rachel, a young Jewish woman who is on a communication break from her mum, navigating desire, hunger, and falling for Miriam, a woman who works at her local frozen yogurt shop.
The story beautifully captures appetite in all its forms, physical hunger, human connection, and sexual desire. It is hilarious, moving and eye-wateringly funny. You’ll need tissues for tears of laughter and sadness.
A great book for: making you blush and roar with laughter in public
Whatever you’re doing to celebrate International Women’s Day, we hope you share our excitement for this special day. Don’t forget to tag us in your stories and posts with what you get up to!