His­tory of a day all about women

Gatton Star - - Advertisin­g Feature -

Internatio­nalWomen’s Day (IWD), orig­i­nally called In­ter­na­tion­alWork­ing Women’s Day, is cel­e­brated on March 8 ev­ery year.

In dif­fer­ent re­gions, the fo­cus of the cel­e­bra­tions ranges from gen­eral cel­e­bra­tion of re­spect, ap­pre­ci­a­tion, and love to­wards women, to a cel­e­bra­tion for women’s eco­nomic, political, and so­cial achieve­ments.

Started as a so­cial­ist political event, the hol­i­day blended the cul­ture of many coun­tries, pri­mar­ily in Europe, es­pe­cially those in the Soviet Bloc.

In some re­gions, the day lost its political fla­vor and be­came sim­ply an oc­ca­sion for peo­ple to ex­press their love for women in a way some­what sim­i­lar to a mix­ture of Mother’s Day and Valen­tine’s Day.

In other re­gions how­ever, the political and hu­man rights theme des­ig­nated by the United Na­tions runs strong, and political and so­cial aware­ness of the strug­gles of women world­wide are brought out and ex­am­ined in a hope­ful man­ner.

The ear­li­estWomen’s Day ob­ser­vance was held on Fe­bru­ary 28, 1909, in New York.

It was or­ga­nized by the So­cial­ist Party of Amer­ica in re­mem­brance of the 1908 strike of the In­ter­na­tional Ladies’ Gar­men­tWork­ers’ Union.

There was no spe­cific strike hap­pen­ing on March 8, de­spite later claims.

In Au­gust 1910, an Internatio­nalWomen’s Con­fer­ence was or­gan­ised to pre­cede the gen­eral meet­ing of the So­cial­ist Se­cond In­ter­na­tional in Copen­hagen, Den­mark.

In­spired in part by the Amer­i­can so­cial­ists, Ger­man so­cial­ist Luise Zi­etz pro­posed the es­tab­lish­ment of an an­nual ‘In­ter­na­tion­alWo­man’s Day’ (sin­gu­lar) and was sec­onded by fel­low so­cial­ist and later com­mu­nist leader Clara Zetkin, al­though no date was spec­i­fied at that con­fer­ence.

Al­though there were some women-led strikes, marches, and other protests in the years lead­ing up to 1914, none of them hap­pened on March 8.

In 1914, In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day was held on March 8, pos­si­bly be­cause that day was a Sun­day, and now it is al­ways held on March 8.

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