International Women’s Day is celebrated throughout the world by numerous organizations and women in a large variety of ways. Sort of like Christmas. As we’ve noted for the last several years, it is truly objectionable that the corporate-run InternationalWomensDay.com website bills itself as ‘the’ International Women’s Day website. Yes it provides some good resources, but so do a lot of other sites and because of the decentralized global nature of IWD, there simply is no such thing as an official site and it is misleading to claim to be such.
Yesterday, the site’s founder, Glenda Stone, took the usurpation to new levels with a press release about the website being hacked, referring to the site as “the global hub” for International Women’s Day. To be very clear, FPN is opposed to anyone’s site being hacked, and if in fact it was done deliberately on IWD (which Ms. Stone asserts but does not back up with facts), it is worrisome. We’ve been on the receiving end of that and it is expensive, time-consuming and no fun to recover from and not a productive tactic for fostering dialog or change.
But that does not change the fact that it is absolutely wrong to presume that a private site is so central to IWD. It isn’t and I feel quite sure we would all carry on with our observances without the site, just as we did before the site existed.
Yesterday I also become aware for the first time that there is an InternationalWomensDay.org website, run by the Women’s Information Network, and yes, you guessed it, it is also a private venture organized by motivational speaker Dr Paula Fellingham. The website seems to be geared towards getting participants to attend events that cost $35 per ticket. And why would you pay that? Because the program included a “Buns of Steel” star talking about “How to Have the Body Your Body Wants to Be” and a soap opera star was on the agenda as well. And move over Bread and Roses, they have an original IWD theme song.
It is truly unfortunate that a responsible organization, such as the U.N., did not safeguard these urls, and even more unfortunate that they have been callously taken over by private parties. While wishing Ms. Stone and Dr. Fellingham the best in their personal ventures, FPN urges both of them to do the right thing and quit using these sites in privately directed ways. Well intentioned though they may, at least in part be, both sites are self-serving and a true disservice to the women of the world.