Today we celebrate yet another International Women’s Day (IWD): a day we celebrate since the early 1900’s. While the date was initially settled in 1917, resulting from several years of strikes against World War I, it’s only recognized by the United Nations since 1975. The political ideology peripheral to the fight for women’s equal rights cannot, in this sense, be understood separate from it.

Matters regarding human rights advocacy were always at the forefront of the several movements that followed. The most recent regarding matters such as racism and migration. But feminism is anything but simple. In my many years of research, I have become closely connected to many different expressions of feminism. Some derivative from a spiritual imbued sense of womanhood and its connection to nature. Others falling closer to a more capitalist-driven neo-popularized version of a Beyonce’d #girlboss hustler kind of culture. 


There are many reasons why we still need Feminism. But what is it all about? Feminism, as an ideology, is a complex phenomenon that can’t be reduced to etymology. In its spectrum fall hundreds of thousands of different women’s perspectives, lives and cultures worldwide. None of which should be erased on the grounds of their own validity. That is exactly what feminism stands for: the multiplicity of voices, rather than a power play among them. Since that is the rationale of patriarchy which feminism seeks to condone.

Feminism has become a popularized concept discussed in everyday culture but seldom understood at its roots.


But, where does antifeminism lie? Currently, there are several self-acclaimed antifeminist women. Many argue that current feminist ideologies are segregating society. Particularly, some believe these ideologues pin women and men against each other, rather than addressing important issues such as women’s labor rights. In a sense, but, perhaps this is not quite antifeminist. In fact many self-acclaimed antifeminists might just be advocating for a renewed sense of feminism and how to fight for it. What we can argue, however, is that feminism has become a popularized concept discussed in everyday culture but seldom understood at its roots.

Truthful and blunt conversations

Isolating women’s voices and their experiences in a patriarchal system is a means of degrading women and their power through victimhood. This undermines the expressive nature of any human right’s advocation. In order to address any social issues, we must first unpack and deconstruct the several hundreds of years of biased data and dogmas which pertain to it. In order to do so, we must hold truthful and blunt conversations, amongst women and men of all cultures and ages. A light has to be shed on these social dynamics which we now take as certain. We need to question those conundrums and provide a social structure which allows for these conversations to be held. That is all that International Women’s Day is about. Reminding us to never step away from critically questioning the social structures which hold us together inasmuch as keep us apart.


All in all, we need IWD as a reminder that we come together, as a society, to speak louder on our concerns, rather than follow the old patriarchal way of turning against each other.

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Author: Ana Flora Machado

Ana is a PhD student in Lisbon and a wine producer in Douro. She often engages with social issues and human rights through her research, particularly addressing feminism and racism. She is passionate about books, vinyl records and psychology.

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