The story of how this annual celebration came about is so worth repeating as it is in itself a triumph of ‘ The Gender Agenda’ and an inspiration to all of us girls who want to celebrate the road travelled in our name, or raise awareness of paths that still need to be trod on behalf of our sisters across the world.
From my blog of March 2011, to mark the centenary of this international event:
The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in March 1911. It had its origins in America a few years earlier where women had come together to protest against poor working conditions, resulting in a National Women’s Day being declared by the Socialist Party of America. Subsequently at an International Conference for Working Women in Copenhagen, attended by delegates from 17 countries, and including the first 3 women elected to the Finnish Parliament, a proposal to have a special day each year to focus on women’s issues was met with unanimous approval.
Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark observed the first International Women’s Day in March 1911. More than a million men and women attended rallies in support of women’s right to work, right to vote, right to hold public office. In 1913, Russian women observed International Women’s Day campaigning for peace and in 1914, other European countries joined in.
In 1917, amid great unrest in Russia caused by millions of casualties, terrible food shortages, and with many women removed from farms to work in the factories, International Women’s Day prompted 90,00 workers to strike and the army at Petrograd to revolt. Attempts to end the unrest were not successful and Tsar Nicholas II abdicated some days later. The new provisional government granted universal suffrage with equality for women.
Down the decades, the movement has continued to grow and has become a worldwide event in countries all over the world. In 25 countries it is an official holiday while in China Madagascar and Nepal it is an official holiday for women only. In many countries from Bangladesh to Guinea, from Vietnam to Iceland, from Afghanistan to Zambia, events will take place on March 8th to mark International Women’s Day. The top 5 countries for International Women’s day activity to mark the centenary on March 8th are the UK, Canada, Australia, the United States and Ireland.
International Women’s Day has evolved into a global day of celebration of the achievements of women, socially, politically, and economically. Women’s rights campaigners highlight inequalities and raise money for Charity and Celebrities the world over associate themselves with the day.
So, whether you want to celebrate, raise awareness for a cause or make a call for action, International Women’s Day is a special day for our Gender Agenda! Go on, DO something!
And while we are at it, what about an International Women’s Day event for Female Bloggers! If interested, please share this post and we may be able to build an online event across the globe to celebrate who we are!
For a list of hundreds of activities and events by country, see http://tinyurl.com/bpve9tg