What is the history of International Women’s Day?

This answer is in honor of all the beautiful ladies out there.

Gandhi once said: “Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity, if by strength is meant moral power, then the woman is immeasurably man’s superior, if non-violence is the law of our being, the future is with women.”

He had a point. International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on 8th March in many countries to pay tribute to all the past achievements and struggles of women and more importantly, to encourage the untapped potential and opportunities which remain hidden beneath patriarchy.

So, where did it all start?

  • 28th Feb 1909: This day was marked as the first observance of International Women’s Day by the Socialist Party of America in honor of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where several rallies were led by women protesters against working conditions in the factories.
  • Aug 1910: In an International Women’s Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, German Socialist Luise Zietz suggested that a day be marked as a tribute to all the hardships and struggles of women around the world.
  • 19th Mar 1911: The very next year, over a million people signed in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland to mark 19th March as the IWD. They demanded an equal right to vote for women, a right against discrimination in jobs, economic and educational rights.
  • 1913-1914: The IWD also became a medium for women to protest WW1, when Russian women started rallying and henceforth observed their first IWD on the last Sunday of February 1913. In 1914, IWD was held on March 8 because it was a Sunday. Note that, no protest or strike took place on March 8.
  • 1917: Against the backdrop pf WW1, Russian women again chose to protest on the last Sunday of February which fell on March 8 on the Gregorian calendar.

From its official adoption in Russia following the Soviet Revolution in 1917 the holiday was predominantly celebrated in communist and socialist countries.

It was celebrated by the communists in China from 1922, and by Spanish communists from 1936. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949 the state council proclaimed on December 23 that March 8 would be made an official holiday with women in China given a half-day off.

In the West, International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

Every year UN has a theme annotated for women’s rights and the theme for 2014 is Equality for Women is Progress for All.

Helen Reddy wrote a song called “I am woman” on the struggles of being a woman in 1971. The song has been highly regarded as the voice of the whole womankind and has been the rhyme in almost all International Women’s Days since then.

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again
Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

Read more: Helen Reddy – I Am Woman Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Source: International Women’s Day Blog Series Begins 
International Women’s Day
History of International Women’s Day

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