Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

The International Women's Day must be celebrated!

Adelina Marini, March 10, 2011

The debate on the International Women's Day was extremely ridiculous in Bulgaria. I'd rather say it was not a debate but something like a social everyday jabber. Some ladies get irritated and actually quite rudely refuse any attempts to be greeted for the day because, you see, men are supposed to behave all the time not just on a specific day (whatever that might mean). Or that there are men who beat their wives and with a bouquet of carnations they cannot buy-up their guilt in a single day. Or that this was a communist holiday and is an insult for a democratic soul. On the other side are those who say - if it is a holiday let it be a holiday, that there should always be reasons for celebrating, that women are wonderful and have to be respected for that, aside from everyday, but to be dedicated a particular day, and more and more jabber - excuse me, these are quite simple reasons.

Actually there is a fact which remains in the background and is quite unpleasant that we do not pay any attention to it. We live in a free country. This means that if I don't like my husband beating me I can divorce him, sue him, ask for protection and get it. There are organisations who provide help for victims of domestic violence. I can vote, I can work, I have the right to go out with friends, I can decide whether to give birth or not. I can decide for myself whether to make an abortion or not. In other words I am a free person and I can do with my life whatever I want to.

In many countries, especially in terms of abortion, women are totally deprived of rights for religious reasons. In others, not that developed and in general Muslim countries, women are at a different stage of rights deprivation - like no right to vote, to go out without being accompanied by a member of the husband's family, to choose whether and how many children to have, even to choose their own husband, to work. In some countries, not only this, but men can have other women without even bothering about the feelings of the rest. And one more very important thing, the countries where a woman simply does not have the right to divorce her husband are not little, no matter if he beats her, humiliates her, loves her, feeds her or sells her. She just does not have these rights.

And in this day, I have to admit, I remembered about that colleague from an American TV station, who was brutally raped and beaten by celebrating male mobs at the Tahrir square in Egypt after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. Because she is a woman! Just for the fun, because she is a woman and was there in a moment of joy for the mob.

This is why I think that such a day has to be celebrated until all women get the rights we have and these rights are respected everywhere. Because, for the men it would probably be difficult to understand, but I felt uncomfortable to walk alone, even in daylight, the streets of Cairo because of the constant lustful male looks. Or, smoking in the street I was looked at maliciously, mainly by men. And for drinking alcohol by women I just don't want to tell. And these disapproving, malicious and lustful looks I get no matter the fact that I am a foreigner and come from a country where I have rights. Where women have no rights no woman has. And this is scary.

This is why this day is important. It is also important for us to remember that it was not even that long ago when women in Europe were allowed to vote. So, dear women and men, the discussion is elsewhere. The discussion is about what we can do in order there are no longer places where women have no rights. And this is not a matter of feminism, for those who would immediately react. Human rights do not distinguish between gender. They are just human rights. And I really hate the jokes - are women "men" (human). It's not funny. There really are places where women are not being treated as people and I assure you this is ugly and scary.