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Woman shares reminder that International Women’s Day is meant to be ‘day of protest’

A woman helping to organise one of the International Women’s Day marches has urged women to remember that the day “belongs to protest”.

Ahead of International Women’s Day, which will take place on 8 March, Wil Stracke, a trade-unionist and feminist from Melbourne, Australia, addressed the shift from what used to be an international “day of protest” to what she claims has become a corportising of the movement in a video shared on TikTok.

In the clip, Stracke began by acknowledging that IWD used to be an opportunity for women to come together to demand their rights.

“Women, marching together, demanding the right to be safe, respected, and equal,” she said. “Millions used to take to the streets. But nowadays, it’s been co-opted by the corporates, who have somehow persuaded us that it is about how we, as individuals, can rise up inside the systems.”

Stracke then went on to express how “sick of” she is of events such as International Women’s Day breakfasts, where “they talk about girlboss power,” and IWD morning teas, where they “talk about resilience, as if the problem is us and not the systems that wear us down”.

“No more. No more breakfasts, and morning teas, and especially no more f**king cupcakes,” Stracke continued.

After sharing the details of the women’s march that she is helping to organise on 8 March in Melbourne, Stracke assured viewers that those in attendance are going to “make some noise”.

“Because we have a lot to still make noise about,” she concluded. “And because International Women’s Day belongs to protest. It belongs to demands. So we’re going to bring it back where it belongs, to us.”

The inspiring video has been viewed by more than 21,000 people on TikTok, where viewers have agreed with Stracke’s message.

“This is such a refreshing view. I hate that somehow it’s turned into a celebration. There’s still a long way to go!!” one person wrote.

Another viewer said: “Yes. And it shouldn’t be a tokenistic day used by corporations/politicians/leaders who then ignore women the other 364 days of the year.”

“Thank you for saying this,” someone else added.

Others noted that the concept of “raising awareness” of the work that still needs to be done for women to achieve equality also does little to actually help the issue.

“‘Bringing awareness’ same thing for me,” one viewer wrote, prompting Stracke to respond: “‘Awareness raising’ is not and has never been a strategy to achieve anything real or tangible. I hate it.”

International Women’s Day will take place around the world on Tuesday 8 March, with the movement noting that this year’s theme is #BreakTheBias.

“Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias,” the International Women’s Day website states.

The Independent has contacted Stracke for comment.

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