Know Why We Celebrate International Women’s Day & How It Evolved Over The Years

Sudhanva Shetty

March 8th, 2017 / 3:32 PM

International Womens Day

Image Source: brynmawr

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.


Timeline

  • 1909 – The first “National Woman’s Day” was observed in the United States on 28 February. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.
  • 1910 – The Socialist International established a Women’s Day, international in character, to honour the movement for women’s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women. The proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by the conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, which included the first three women elected to the Finnish Parliament. No fixed date was selected for the observance. This happened in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 1911 – As a result of the Copenhagen initiative, IWD was marked for the first time (19 March) in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. More than one million women and men attended rallies. In addition to the right to vote and to hold public office, they demanded women’s rights to work, universal suffrage, and an end to gender discrimination.
  • 1913-1914 – IWD became a mechanism for protesting the First World War. As part of the peace movement, Russian women observed their first IWD on the last Sunday in February. Elsewhere in Europe, women held rallies either to protest the war or to express solidarity with other activists.
  • 1917 – Against the backdrop of the War, women in Russia again chose to protest and strike for “Bread and Peace” on the last Sunday in February (which fell on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar). This sparked a chain of events which precipitated into the February Revolution (first of the two Russian Revolutions in 1917).
  • 1975 – The United Nations began celebrating IWD on 8 March.

IWD 2017

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.


Contributors

Edited by :

Share your thoughts..

Related Stories

There Is Nothing That Women Cannot Do, This Women’s Day Spread The Message Of Equality

Iceland Becomes The First Country To Criminalize Unequal Pay Based On Gender

Learn About The Russian Revolution On Its 100th Anniversary

Women In Politics

Women In Politics: A Long Way To Go

Indian Women Work 50 Days More Than Men In A Year

Indian Women Work 50 Days More Than Men In A Year: Report On Global Gender Gap

Sikkim Has The Best Working Conditions For Women, Delhi’s The Worst: New Report

Latest on The Logical Indian

Get Inspired

‘Will Help Create Awareness About Discrimination Against Transgenders,’ Says First Trans Judge From Assam

News

Ranchi Child Trafficking: Nun Admits On Camera To Selling Babies

News

Angry Mob In Karnataka Lynch Man Over Fake Rumour Of Child-Abductors

Fact Check

Fact Check: From Mandsaur Gangrape to Maharashtra’s Mob Attack: Three Instances Where Fake News Went Viral

News

Muslim Personal Law Board Will Not Interfere In Supreme Court’s Decision On Section 377

News

Bol Gai Deng: A Labourer In Sudan Is Contesting For Presidential Elections

x

Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

Handpicked, newsworthy stories which deserve the attention of a rational generation.