Over the past years, fighting like a girl has lost its serious meaning and has turned into an irony. In this article, I am going to give you three incredible examples of women fighting for what they believe in.
The Liberian Sex Strike of 2003
In 2003 the women of Liberia, mass action for peace, organized a series of nonviolent protests that included a sex strike. Their efforts, which helped end a 14-year civil war, were so successful that they earned one of its core organizers a Nobel Peace Prize.
She said of the protests: “we knew that we had to build peace, we needed to bring not just women together, but women from diverse backgrounds. We were just invading spaces that a girl would not necessarily be in.” They met with political leaders, including the former president.
They help shut-ins to speed up the peace negations and they expertly coordinated with the media. They took the power that they had and used it to galvanize the men around them too. Quick side note, the sex strike thing may seem a little bit strange but it’s not actually the first or only time that it’s worked. We’ve also got examples from Kenya, the Philippines, and Colombia.
Iceland’s strike of 1975
This is possibly the most famous strike of its kind when 90% of Iceland’s female population went on strike. They didn’t go to their jobs or contribute to the housework or childcare, typical things a girl does. They equated paid work at companies and organizations with the unpaid labor women often do by default in the home, treating them both as legitimate work.
The organizers were worried about women getting in trouble with their employers for going on strike. So they called it a day off instead because those were allowed within contracts. More than 10% of the entire population of Iceland made its way to Reykjavik for a rally. The immediate results were pretty startling.
Many industries had to shut down for the day. There were no telephone services, no newspapers printed, theatres shut down, fish factories stopped production, schools were either closed or at limited capacity, flights were canceled, bank executives had to come down and work as tellers to keep the banks open. And the longer-term effects were also fascinating, the introduction of equality laws and the first democratically elected female president in 1980.
Living life freely – Malala Yousafzai
This one seems quite simple but is no less revolutionary. When you live in a place that has ingrained or imposed discriminatory practices even something as simple as going to school as a girl, living your life freely can be a revolutionary act. We’ve seen this in the story of Malala. Throughout her childhood as a girl, she championed girls’ education and continued to study after attending school had been banned, surviving an assassination attempt in the process.
We’ve seen the idea of protests and marches as being pointless or meaningless, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.
Even if you have a protest or a march that doesn’t change the thing it’s protesting against that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been successful in some of the other things that it’s trying to do. Bringing people together, galvanizing support, creating a community can be just as useful in a lot of ways for long-term activism and political action.
So next time you find a cause that you want to fight for look for protests and marched to do with it, gather your friends and go. You never know what might come of it. If you want to read more articles like this one, click here.