International Women’s Day vs. Mozambican Women’s Day
Today is celebrated the International Women’s Day, because, in 1910, in Denmark, it was decided to pay tribute to the women who, on March 8th 1857, went on strike at a textile factory, in New York, for working 16 hours a day and being paid less than a third of what the men were paid. On that night it was declared a fire on the factory and about 130 women were burned to death. That is why the International Women’s Day is celebrated; to recall the importance of women’s role and dignity and to contest and review prejudices and limitations that have been imposed on women all over the World, and for so many centuries.
I understand why this day is celebrated, but that doesn’t mean that I am totally in favor: I don’t think it should be needed a day to remember the world of women’s role and dignity; a woman is a woman every day, not just a day per year and, for that reason, her role, dignity, values, rights should be recalled every day of the year, not just in one.
I take this opportunity of talking about International Women’s Day to talk about the reality where I am inserted right now: here in Mozambique, on April 7th, it’s celebrated the Mozambican Women’s Day (in a month, women here will be celebrating). The typical mozambican women wakes up early, takes care of the “machamba”, comes back home, watches over the kids, takes care of the house and cooks the meals; when the husband gets home she also takes care of him, doing everything he asks her; most of the times, he beats her up (who, most of the times, arrives drunk) and when someone tells her to report the physical aggression to the police, she answers “I won’t, because it’s tradition (being beat up by the husband)”. All year, the mozambican women’s life is like that (I’m not saying all the women live like that, I’m just talking about the typical one). Except on Mozambican Women’s Day: on that day, that is once a year, women can do everything that comes to their heads. On that day, women may choose not to take care of the “machamba”, not to watch over the kids, go out without wearing the typical clothes, get drunk, party, beat up their husbands, and even kill them (a lot of them kill their husbands, because they can’t stand being beaten up every day anymore, so they “explode” – attention, nothing justifies violence, much less homicide), because they won’t be judged by the authorities. On that day, husbands are afraid of their wives.
That is, the mozambican women only have one day to enjoy their freedom for an entire year (obviously that I keep on not agreeing with the homicides).
I’m saying this to show that we celebrate the International Women’s Day to recall the women’s rights, but the truth is that gender equality is far from becoming a reality, everywhere around the World, unfortunately.