Mar 12, 2021 | LIFE | By Mahnoor Rehman | Illustration by Maren Greene

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 to promote solidarity and recognize the struggle of women around the world.

Recently, the day has been marked by marches and protests across borders demanding the rights and safety of women. These protests vary significantly based on the cultures and backgrounds in which they take place.

However, one common, transnational theme that has stood out in the past decade is the importance of community-building for the welfare of women.

These communities are present in almost all nation-states with different features among them. Some communities are exclusive to women of color, queer women, disabled women, and more, while other bigger communities are accessible to almost all women.

There has been a lot of effort put in by groups of powerful and talented feminist women to make these communities intersectional and inclusive. These communities strive to solve the issues faced by their members.

To that end, many of them contact organizations and authorities to set up lines of communication and ensure that steps are being taken to help women in need of financial or social assistance.

These communities act as a hub for easy access to local, small-scale, and women-owned businesses. There is economic solidarity and support that women enjoy in these groups, which also expands their customer base. These community practices are becoming more popular with respect to intersectionality.

Often, businesses owned by women of color are sponsored, encouraged, and given necessary attention. Women are building communities by themselves and for themselves to fight the system of oppression and achieve the economic stability that they deserve.

A lot of these communities are queer-inclusive with many women from the

LGBTQ+ community. There is intersectionality between queer and feminist issues and therefore, providing the space for people to share their experiences creates a support system and sense of belonging that one cannot receive otherwise.

These spaces allow visibility and opportunities for vital conversations that are necessary for the feminist and LGBTQ+ movements, and liberation of women. Many communities are also exclusively for disabled women where the essential work is being done to support their causes and evaluate the policies that affect them on a daily basis.

In the times of COVID-19, online women-only communities are becoming more common, with spaces for women to talk about their experiences and ask for support. Facebook groups, Instagram accounts, and TikTok communities are using their platforms to promote women’s rights and empowerment.

There are funds and aids through which privileged members of the communities can send financial help to other members for housing, bills and healthcare. The importance of communities becomes more outstanding and dominant as the social issues related to the pandemic impact women and especially women of color disproportionately.

The emotional and financial assistance, as well as the solidarity shared by belonging to these groups, are some of the best ways to cope with the unfavorable circumstances at the moment.

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