Sudhanva Shetty Shetty
Writer, coffee-addict, likes folk music & long walks in the rain. Firmly believes that there's nothing more important in a democracy than a well-informed electorate.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. Originally called International Working Women’s Day, IWD commemorates the struggle for women’s rights.
History of IWD
On 8 March 1917 in Petrograd (capital of the Russian Empire) thousands of women textile workers protested across the city. This was the beginning of the Russian Revolution. Seven days later, the Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II, abdicated and the provisional government granted women the right to vote. The women’s march was a crucial point in Russian history – and, consequently, world history – as it led to the toppling of monarchy and shook the global political order.
The earliest Women’s Day observance was held on 28 February 1909 in New York where women were protesting against dire working conditions. In 1917, March 8 was declared a national holiday in Russia. IWD was mainly celebrated in communist countries until 1975 when it was adopted by the United Nations. Even then, IWD was concentrated among labour movements around the world. It was not until the turn of the twentieth century that the day became a national observance.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is “Be Bold for Change”. The campaign calls on people to work towards a more gender-inclusive world.
Over the years, IWD has assumed a global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.
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