ORIGIN OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

We all know about the International Women’s Day celebrated worldwide on March 8 of every year to commemorate the very vital role of women in our society, in our life, their selfless effort for the well being of all and their invaluable contribution for making this world much better than a paradise. We know this day as a day of wishing and giving present to a lady having a value in our life, to make her to know her importance in our life. Despite of this the day has a much more historical importance, marking the events of women’s movement and struggle for equal rights and struggle for peace and their selfless effort for their country. Some of this events are mentioned below which mark the importance of this day.

👉The first women’s day was held on February 28, 1909 as ‘National Women’s Day’ in New York City organized by the Socialist Party of America, suggested by Theresa Malkiel. Some claim that this day was commemorating the protest by women garment workers on March 8, 1857.

👉 ‌In August, 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference was organised to precede the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, Denmark. Here inspired by American socialist, German socialist Luise Zietz proposed establishment of an annual Women’s Day, seconded by fellow socialist Clara Zetkin supported by socialist activist Käte Duncker. Although no date was specified at the conference, Clara Zetkin proposed 8 March be honored as a day annually in memory of working women. Delegates constituting 100 women from 17 countries agreed with the idea as a strategy to promote equal rights including suffrage for women.

👉On March 19, 1911 International Women’s Day was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Women demanded that they be given right to vote and to hold public office. They also protested against sex discrimination at the work place.

‌👉On March 8, 1914 International Women’s Day was held in Germany dedicated to women’s right to vote which German women didn’t got until 1918.

‌👉In 1913 Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day. On March 8, 1917, on Gregorian calender, in the capital Petrograd women textile workers began a demonstration covering the whole city. Women in St. Petersburg went on strike that day for ‘ Bread and Peace’ demanding for end of World War I, end of Russian food shortages and end of czarism. After seven days Tsar Nicholas II abdicated and the provisional government granted women right to vote.

👉Following the October revolution Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai and Vladimir Lenin made this day an official holiday in Soviet Union, but it was a working day until 1965. By decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet on May 8, 1965 International Women’s Day was declared a non working day for commemorating outstanding merits Soviet women in communistic construction, in defence of the fatherland, their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear, and also marking the great contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples and the struggle for peace.

👉The holiday was predominantly celebrated in communist countries and communist movements worldwide.

👉It was commemorated by communists in China from 1922. In 1927 Guangzhou, China, there was a march of 25000 women and male supporters including representatives of Kuomintang, YWCA and labour organizations. People’s Republic of China on December 23, 1949 proclaimed March 8 an official holiday with women given a half-day off.

👉The day remained predominantly a communist holiday until 1967. The day re-emerged as a day of activism, in Europe sometimes known as ‘Women’s International Day of Struggle’. In 1970s and 1980s women’s groups were joined by leftist and labour organizations demanding for equal pay, equal economic opportunities, equal legal rights, reproductive rights, subsidized child care and prevention of violence against women.

👉The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day in the International Women’s year, 1975. The UN General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women’s Rights and World Peace.

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