Message from the Gender Equality Committee of the University of Crete for International Women’s Rights Day

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise

Maya Angelou

International Women’s Day on March 8th is an anniversary that, ideally, should not need to be celebrated in a Rule of Law state. It reminds us of an old ERT (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation) show titled “Greece is not just Athens,” whose existence precisely confirmed that fact. Similarly, International Women’s Day is not celebrated as a day of remembrance and honor for the struggles and collective demands of women in the past, but rather as an admission. That today is Women’s Day, because all the other days are not. This is unfortunately confirmed by the grim “normality” that now constitutes reports in the news bulletins on incidents of gender violence and femicides. According to UN Women data (2021), 48,800 women and girls were murdered by partners or family members. This means, in other words, that there are, on average, 133 femicides committed daily! It is emphasized that this number is actually higher, as it only concerns recorded acts. In Greece, the wave of femicides peaked in the years 2021 and 2022 (with 23 and 24 victims, respectively). The year 2023 was marked by 13 femicides, while this year has already seen four, and March has just begun…

Thus, for yet another year, as the Committee on Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination of the University of Crete, we honor International Women’s Day, wishing that someday its character will be exclusively commemorative. Not only for women but for all femininities (and masculinities), and for everyone who has chosen an alternative approach to issues of self-determination and sexuality. In every aspect of our lives and everyday reality.

As the poet says, “If you want to be called a human, you will not stop fighting for peace and justice for even a moment.”

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