International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day March 8th 2021
You may have heard about International Women’s Day before but what is it all about?
For over 100 years people have been celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th as a unique day for all women.
It began in America back in 1908 when 15,000 women got together and marched through the streets of New York to demand improved working conditions, better and more equal pay and the right to vote. The first Women’s Day in America was announced the following year.
Two years after this in 1910, a lady called Clara Zetkin founded the International Women’s Day after her suggestion was unanimously agreed upon at a conference for working women held in Copenhagan.
In 1911, International Women’s Day was celebrated in Austria, Switzerland Denmark and Germany. This year will be the 110th anniversary.
It was formalised in 1917 when working women in Russia called a war-time strike. They were overworked and starving. They demanded “Bread and Peace”and 4 days later the Tsar of Russia was forced to abdicate and Russian women were given the right to vote. The women’s strike began on March 8th and this date is still remembered today.
In 1975, the United Nations also recognised this day and began to celebrate it. They used the slogan “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future”
International Women’s Day is now a time to remember just how far women have advanced in today’s society. Politically it is also a day for protest as well as celebration, to highlight inequality that is still remaining. Women will often wear the colour purple to signify justice and dignity and in many countries around the world, the day is a national holiday with sales of flowers sky rocketing.
This year the theme for International Women’s Day is “Choose to Challenge”, to call out inequality. The UN estimated that the Covid-19 Pandemic has had a negative effect on the equality of women who are doing significantly more of the child care and domestic responsibilities. However in recent years there has been great advancements. In 2017 there was the #MeToo campaign, which began on social media to speak out against sexual harassment, and is now a global phenomenon which has resulted in many high profile convictions.
In Finland in 2019 a coalition government of 5 women were elected, in Northern Ireland abortion was decriminalised, and even a law in Sudan that stated how women should dress was rejected. Whilst there is still a way to go, we must celebrate each achievement and remember how far we have come.