Sunday Edit: International Women's Day

The women's movement isn't just a fight for equality between genders; it's a fight for equal opportunities for all. On the occasion of International Women's day on March 8th, Sunday Edit has asked film director Janne Giese, with a history in the Danish Red Stocking Movement, political chief consultant in LGBT+ Denmark Andreas Nielsen, and journalist Gisella Francisca about their take on the day.

Find their answers below

"Her win is my win and together we are reaching higher!"

To journalist and digital creator Gisella Francisca, International Women's Day is a day where she particularly fights for the rights and equal opportunities of BPoC women, reminding us that we all have a responsibility in expanding our view on feminism and equality.

What does gender equality and International Women's Day mean to you?

"I believe these days shouldn't only be dates celebrated every year, but topics on the global political agenda. Still, having those days gone so mainstream - as in commercial calendar for example - is positive in the sense that it creates more visibility and hopefully, more opportunities for womxn in all aspects of society."

What change would you like to see in the world?

"Oh, there is a lot I could say here, especially related to environmental individual and governmental responsibility, gender pay gap, but here I am going to narrow down to a reality that unfortunately has not enough light shed on it: black and PoC womxn increase of opportunities and equal pay across all areas in society.

It is not only about pointing out the institutions, fashion, beauty brands, or capitalism, it is about us taking responsibility to be the changing catalysers in our own community. In small but continuing waves. Checking our biases every single day! Ask ourselves how are we taking responsibility, I mean, ask ourselves "am I making the best I can to make that person more equal partners in the society we are living in".?

Do you have a feminist role model?

I don't have one role model, but a type of network, a group of womxn that I admire a lot, that represents me in different areas of my life.

For instance what Rawdah and Ceval are doing with fashion. The fact that they are models, as opposed to "the hijab or the trans womxn models" is the whole point. That is exactly one of the changes I want to se.

TV writers and producers like Shonda Rhimes, Issa Rae, Michaela Coel are names that I admire so much. On Instagram I love Blair Imani from @smarterinseconds, Bernardine Evaristo is a big name for me in literature.

These womxn inspire me as much as my friends and people around me, including men. The day-to-day heroes, you know! How these people are thriving in environments that were not meant for them to thrive. Her win is my win and together we are reaching higher!

What would you encourage to participate in, listen to or read in connection with International Women's Day?

Intersectional feminism. I would advise all my friends to read more authors of color and their work on feminism and gender equality. This brings a broader persective of these matters, that are common for all womxn. Any feminism that privileges those who already have priviledge, is bound to be irrelevant to poor women or women of color, trans women or trans womxn of color. So, in this international womxn's day I invite you to change the dynamics and broaden up ur perspectives on feminism and gender equality.

Follow Gisella Francisca on Instagram here.

"The LGBT+ movement owes a great thank you to the women's movement"

March 8 is a day where we focus on the fact that we are still fighting for inclusion and equal rights for all citizens, says Andreas Nielsen, political chief consultant in LGBT+ Denmark.

What does gender equality and International Women's Day mean to you and LGBT+?

“International Women's Day reminds us in LGBT+ Denmark that the fight for equality and equal rights is a continuous struggle that must be fought every year, every day. The women's movement knows that equal pay does not come by itself, and we know that recognition for rainbow families does not come by itself. The LGBT+ movement owes a great gratitude to the women's movement for expanding the narrower gender roles and norms of the past, which has also made it easier to be an LGBT+ person.”

What change would you like to see in the world?

“I am preoccupied with equality and equal rights and how it’s rooted in our legislation. Progressive legislation, that protects against discrimination and abuse and gives equal rights, is the precondition for a culture that ensures equal recognition of all citizens regardless of gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. It is crucial to know whether you have the legislation and the state on your side if you experience injustices.”

Do you have a feminist role model?

“Nanna Højlund, chairwoman of the Women's Council and deputy chairman of the Trade Union Movement's Main Organization, is a feminist role model for me. Nanna manages to make the fight for equality concrete, relevant and inspiring, and Nanna insists that the major inequality-creating mechanisms in the labor market must be solved. At the same time, Nanna has made a significant contribution to the fact that today we are talking to a much greater extent than before about LGBT+ inclusion in the labor market as an important goal. ”

What would you encourage to participate in, listen to or read in connection with International Women's Day?

"I'm going to KVINFO's event on March 8 in VEGA in Copenhagen - there is usually an exciting program and sweet people. Personally, I am inspired by listening to the Danish podcast ‘Det vi taler om’ (‘What we’re talking about’), where you can always count on insightful and bone-hard observations from especially Ditte Okman and Anne Kirstine Cramon, when they, among other things, discuss cases of violations and abuse of power."

Follow the work of LGBT+ Denmark on their Instagram here.

"It's still men in suits who rule the world"

When the Danish women’s rights movement, Red Stocking Movement, was at its peak in the early 70s, International Women’s Day was taken to new heights. Film director Janne Giese participated and traveled around Denmark for panel debates, wrote articles and documented the women's movement on film in the documentary ‘Kvindefestival 74’. Here she tells about which women’s movement accomplishments she’s most proud of and what she thinks is still to be fought for in the name of equality.

What does gender equality and International Women's Day mean to you?

“It is a day that evokes memories of the time in the early 70s, when the Red Stocking Movement was at its peak. My sister Susse (Janne Giese's twin sister, author and debater Suzanne Giese (1946-2012)) and I was out and about. There were always a lot of debates and panel discussions.

We repeated and repeated our messages of equality in one go, one might say. We repeated and repeated, until we were worn out, where we had moved and where we had not.

All of us who rebelled were middle-class girls who went to university and were brought up in our mothers' regimes as nice girls who had to behave nicely. Suddenly it all came crashing down on top of each other, the sexual revolution and the Red Stocking Movement, which gave us freedom in a lot of areas that by god had never before been freedoms for women - only for men. It was an insanely exciting time.”

What are you most proud of that the Women's Movement achieved?

“The legalization of abortions in 1973 - and not least proper conditions for the women who still had the children, Mødrehjælpen (1983) and so on. I think that has been absolutely crucial for women's freedom. Before the time of panel discussions, I went around the country, talking about women’s rights to decide for their own body. The right to decide for yourself when you want to be pregnant and have a child. It was a very important case for me because I had had two children at a very young age. I got married and had my first child when I was 17 years old.”

What change would you like to see in the world?

“We are still fighting for women to have a greater influence in society. It is still men in suits who rule this country. Only 39 percent of politicians in Parliament are women. Now, the Danish government has just changed its position and will support an EU directive that ensures at least 40 percent women in boards, just like in Norway. For me, it is super important that we get more women into the sectors where we are under-represented, in the financial sector and in the scientific fields. We must help drive the country's development and make the big decisions.

The fight for power in society could become a little more feminine. We need politics with care and a heart. I would like to see that change in the world.”

Do you have a feminist role model?

“There are so many exciting women, but Simone de Beauvoir has meant a lot to me. I read The Second Sex as a young feminist and used it as a bible.

If I look at the political scene out in the world with abominable Trump and Putin, I find hope in the American, Democratic Senate politician and activist elected for New York, AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She was not even 30 when she was elected. She is a fantastic role model. ”

What would you encourage to participate in, listen to or read in connection with International Women’s Day

“I do not really have a specific event on March 8, but something I am very pleased about is that many museums have exhibitions with some of the female artists who have disappeared from art history. After all, it is something that draws lines back to the women's movement. We shouted and screamed, "What about all the women who were so talented but were forgotten?" I would recommend that you go out and see them and become wiser. For me, it means something that we remember them and recognize their talent. ”

The sculptor Anne Marie Carl Nielsen (1863-1945) at Glyptoteket in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Artist and designer Sonia Delalunay (1885-1979) at Louisiana in Humlebæk, Denmark.

Artist Bertha Wegmann (1847-1926) at the Hirschsprung Collection in Copenhagen, Denmark.