The History Behind International Women’s Day

FROM OUR ARCHIVES: ORIGINAL POSTED TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2011 ON WEWALK: BEHIND THE SCENES OF OPENING THE WAYEDITED AND UPDATED ON 3/8/2016.

Today is International Women’s Day, which highlights the accomplishments of women around the world while bringing awareness to their ongoing plight. On this day, March 8, we encourage activists to educate themselves and others about women’s history in order to emphasize the struggles women have overcome in the past and the important contributions that they have made when given the opportunity.

The United Nations describes International Women’s Day as “the story of ordinary women as makers of history.” It is rooted in a tradition where women worldwide hold a common oppression in political, economic, and sexual subordination due to their gender, but the origins of Women’s Day differ in various parts of the world.

The first National Women’s Day was celebrated by the American Socialist Party on February 28, 1909, and American women continued to celebrate it every last Sunday in February until 1913. Likewise, in 1910, the Socialist International proposed an International Women’s Day to help win suffrage and other rights for women, which was unanimously accepted by countries such as Germany,Denmark, Austria and Switzerland. On March 8, 1917, Russian women protested the czar under a “Bread and Peace” strike and won the right to vote from the provisional government four days later, after the czar was abdicated. The UN subsequently began celebrating IWD on March 8 in 1975, and passed a resolution two years later to proclaim a Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

Since 1987 in the US, March has been designated Women’s History Month, embracing the pre-existing calendar day long dedicated to women. Around the world, it has become a symbolic moment when groups gather, rally, and inform to declare that historically women have been left out of the narrative, but we’re working hard to rewrite those stories. Click here for a shameless Opening the Way tour plug!

Join an event, share a meme, sign a pledge, spread the word.

To see what events are going on, Internationalwomensday.com has an event finder based on your location.

Here’s to hoping that one day we won’t need a day designated for women to get equal attention! Or girls for that matter…

 

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