Not just another day... It's a Female Celebration!
Just another day some will say. While we too agree that is just another day. It’s also a day we set aside as International Women’s Day. While we celebrate women throughout the year with various promoted holidays, here’s why today is important and why you should know about it.
Our founding mothers took it among themselves over a century to fight for equal rights. Because of them, most of us get to live a better life. All women wanted was equal pay and have the same rights as men: economically, politically and socially. In the 1900’s, women just like you began fighting for voting rights and equal pay.
March 8th is used not only to honor advancements made and celebrate our achievements, but to remember that there is still work to be done.
Though it goes back to 1908, the first ever International Women’s Day was organized by women’s right activist Clara Zetkin in 1911.
While we’ve come a long way, let us not forget that as a minority together we are more powerful. Support one another in your everyday life, at work, at school… Be a force and live up to what these iconic women fought for. Here's a look at the women's progress from 1908 to present (adapted from International Women's Day site).
15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
The first National Woman's Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands.
IWD was honoured the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic 'Triangle Fire' in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women's Day events.
On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women's Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since.
On the last Sunday of February, Russian women began a strike for "bread and peace" in response to the death of over 2 million Russian soldiers in World War 1. Opposed by political leaders, the women continued to strike until four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. The date the women's strike commenced was Sunday 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was 8 March.
International Women's Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975.
By the new millennium, International Women's Day activity around the world had stalled in many countries. The world had moved on and feminism wasn't a popular topic. International Women's Day needed re-ignition.
The global internationalwomensday.com digital hub for everything IWD was launched to re-energize the day as an important platform to celebrate the successful achievements of women and to continue calls for accelerating gender parity.
2011 saw the 100 year centenary of International Women's Day - with the first IWD event held exactly 100 years ago in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In the United States, President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2011 to be "Women's History Month", calling Americans to mark IWD by reflecting on "the extraordinary accomplishments of women" in shaping the country's history.
The then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the "100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through International Exchanges".
In the United Kingdom, celebrity activist Annie Lennox lead a superb march across one of London's iconic bridges raising awareness in support for global charity Women for Women International. Further charities such as Oxfam have run extensive activity supporting IWD and many celebrities and business leaders also actively support the day
The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation.
International Women’s Day or IWD is an official holiday in many countries, like Afghanistan, Armenia, Cambodia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Vietnam, Russia, and many more.
Read more on International Women’s Day and get acquainted with your female history.
Continue to support your leaders fight for chance, vote! Together we can continue to make great changes and improvements. Not just as women or minorities, but as a society. Together.
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