HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
History of International Women’s Day
The history of International Women’s Day (IWD), though comparatively short is as bold and brilliant as its founders themselves.
Long before the Feminist Movement of the 1960s, International Women’s Day’s genesis goes back to February 28, 1909, New York, U.S.A., with a prophetic focus on women’s rights.
Known originally as “National Woman’s Day” it was first proposed by Theresa Malkiel and loosely based on the urban legend commemorating a protest by women garment workers in New York City, on March 8, 1857.
Inspired by Malkeil and other American activists, German Socialist Luise Zietz suggested there be an annual Women’s Day which was quickly seconded by sister activist, Clara Zetkin and supported by Kate Duncker. One hundred women delegates from 17 countries agreed with the suggestion as a means to continue promoting the rights of women, including suffrage (the right to vote).
On March 19, 1911, International Women’s Day was officially marked for the first time. More than one million people celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Women demanded the right to vote, to fight against sex discrimination in the workplace, and to hold public office.
In 1913, International Women’s Day was recognized in Russia for the first time, where it catapulted to become part of what led to the Russian Revolution in 1917. At that time, in St. Petersburg, women went on strike for “Bread and Peace” demanding the end to World War I, Czarism, and the shortage of food in Russia.
That day was March 8 (February 23 on the Gregorian calendar). Though ordered back to work the next day, workers walked out of factories leading to mass strikes and the abdication of Nicholas II just 7 days later, resulting in Russian women being given the right to vote.
In further recognition of the role Russian women played in defense of their Fatherland and their heroism and selflessness, International Women’s Day was declared a non-working holiday.
Initially celebrated in, and supported by, Communist countries and organizations, International Women’s Day began to spread. In 1922, it reached China where March 8th was declared an office “half-day of work” for women in 1949.
The demand for women’s rights continued to grow, gain support, and shine a much- needed light on the poor conditions under which too many women continued to live.
In 1967, the notion of women’s rights was taken up by the next generation of feminists who called for equal pay, equal economic opportunity, equal legal rights, reproductive rights, subsidized child care and the prevention of violence against women.
The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day in 1975, which was declared “International Women’s Year”. In 1977, the United Nations invited members to proclaim March 8th as the UN Day for Women’s Rights and World Peace.
International Women’s Day continues to be celebrated worldwide on March 8th.
More historical info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Women%27s_Day
Our Message to All
Honoring the pioneer ladies of International Women’s Day, the team at InternationalWomen’sDay.org recognizes and applauds the contributions of so many courageous women – from many nations - throughout the past 100+ years. We celebrate the advancement of women’s rights in all areas of life, with the acknowledgment there is still much progress to be made and work to be done.
In many parts of the world women still live in fear and have fewer rights than imaginable.
This website is dedicated, with profound gratitude, to all who have gone before us; those who have sacrificed to pave a smoother and safer path for the women of today and for our girls – the women of tomorrow.
We at InternationalWomensDay.org celebrate the lives of women everywhere – women of all nations, all cultures, all beliefs. We love you all!
We recognize the strength of every woman. We believe that together we can – WE WILL – fulfill the century-old vision of the International Women’s Day Founders to stand firmly together as we do all we can to create a better, more peaceful world.
Women… this is our time.
We invite you to share with us what you are doing to celebrate, self-improve and serve.
Would you like to comment? Participate? Join our IWD Team?
Email Info@InternationalWomensDay.org. We’d love to hear from you!