In Oakland and across the world, women hit the streets for International Working Women’s Day


“No matter what derogatory comments he made about women, everything was excused by saying it is just ‘boys talk,’” Cassimus said. “We deserve better.” (Photo courtesy of Bartosz Brzezinski)

Jessica Aguallo, Staff member

From concerts and conferences to protests, marches and festivals, millions came out globally to celebrate International Working Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8. 

The event, which was held locally in Oakland and Sacramento among other cities, sought to raise awareness about women’s rights, recognize women’s achievements and rally to help forge a more gender-equal world under the banner #EachforEqual.

Tia Cassimus, a 22-year-old English major at Diablo Valley College, said she supports the recognition of women and remains angry about women’s “place today” in society,  particularly following the 2016 elections that featured Donald Trump’s demeaning statements about women. 

“No matter what derogatory comments he made about women, everything was excused by saying it is just ‘boys talk,’” Cassimus said. “We deserve better.” 

Trump’s comments inspired her to write a poem titled “America Ain’t Feeling So Beautiful Right Now,” included at the bottom of this article, to express her frustration over Trump’s election.

With the aim of drawing in more working class women to fight for their protection in the workplace, International Working Women’s Day was launched more than a century ago to demand workers insurance for mother and child, political rights for working women, and the right for propertyless men to vote. 

Since women in the North American Socialist Party and socialists parties in Europe first mobilized in 1908, millions of women throughout the world have protested annually to oppose femicide, the overload of domestic and care jobs, labor and wage inequality, lack of political inclusion, and even extreme poverty and hardship. 

In recent years, more men have been showing up on IWWD to march in solidarity with women.

Ryan Partovi, 20, a second year political science major at DVC, said he stands for women’s rights, especially as a man coming from the Middle East where he said women are routinely repressed. 

In legal systems across the Middle East, the testimony of two women is equal to the testimony of one man, according to Partovi.  

“The other countries need to catch up with the U.S,” he said. Partovi cited the example of a princess from Dubai hiding in the U.K. because of fear for her life, and the attack on Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani student who was shot in the face by the Taliban while riding on a bus on the way home from school. 

Partovi said Malala was shot because she was advocating for females’ right to an education.

Local IWWD actions held throughout the Bay Area last weekend included a rally and march hosted by Gabriela Oakland together with other grassroots organizations like the Brown Beret National Organization and the Palestinian Youth Association.  

Some 200 participants took the streets of Oakland after gathering at the Fruitvale Plaza for opening speeches and performances, then marched for about a mile before closing the event with a performance of “El Violardo Eres Tu” in Spanish and English, a chant made famous by Chilean feminists.

“America Ain’t Feeling so Beautiful Right Now,” by Tia Cassimus:

To a country that preaches equality
As we’re on our knees,
Begging please oh please.
“Oh but baby, that’s just policy!”
See, cause honestly?
Who cares about the sodomy
Unless they’re two guys consenting happily
Won’t let THAT be…
Legs gone wobbly,
‘Cause this country ain’t like it said it’d be.
What kind of democracy
Makes us sigh so despondently?
It’s hypocrisy, following history to a tee
How many girls gotta get hurt before we learn empathy?