International Women’s Day was instated in 1909 by the Socialist Party of America. Originally titled “International Working Women’s Day,” the event simultaneously commemorated the protests for the labor rights of women and furthered its cause. While its current de facto recognition might be likened to a sort of Mother’s Day that includes both childbearing and non-childbearing females alike, International Women’s Day is properly a labor movement, and a feminist one.
Since today is essentially a celebration of the feminist cause, it might be a good time to reflect on what feminism is—and what it was, and what it can be. In discussion, Buddhism and feminism tend to converge at two points: the ubiquitous sex scandal (Zen and Vajrayana, I’m looking at you), and the inequality of female monastics according to the Vinaya‘s rules. Instead of concerning myself with these points, of which plenty has been written about in Tricycle, I’d like to take a look at how the magazine has covered in several articles the parallel progression of American Buddhism and American feminism, and how the pieces might demonstrate the transformative powers of both.