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81International Women's Day

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  • max
    Mar 6, 2005
      Dear friends:

      Tomorrow, March 8, is International Women's Day. It is a day
      especially set aside to remember the tremendously important role
      women have played and continue to play in the mission of building a
      more just and peaceful world. It is also a day to remember the lack
      of equality within our present societies where women still are often
      not accepted as equals. On this special day, let us all focus our
      thoughts on the significant contributions women have made, and are
      making, in our homes, villages, nations and the world. Let us listen
      to their voices on this March 8 and in all the days to come so that
      we may understand more clearly where injustice and inequality still
      remain in our communities. And then let us all commit ourselves to
      participating, supportively and constructively, in the movement for
      genuine justice, equality and peace for all.......max ediger

      Below is a brief history of International Women's Day as provided on
      the UN website.

      International Women's Day (8 March) is an occasion marked by women's
      groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United
      Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday.
      When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries
      and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political
      differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back
      to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for
      equality, justice, peace and development.

      International Women's Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of
      history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to
      participate in society on an equal footing with men. In ancient
      Greece, Lysistrata initiated a sexual strike against men in order to
      end war; during the French Revolution, Parisian women calling
      for "liberty, equality, fraternity" marched on Versailles to demand
      women's suffrage.

      The idea of an International Women's Day first arose at the turn of
      the century, which in the industrialized world was a period of
      expansion and turbulence, booming population growth and radical
      ideologies. Following is a brief chronology of the most important


      In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America,
      the first National Woman's Day was observed across the United States
      on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate it on the last Sunday of
      that month through 1913.


      The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a
      Women's Day, international in character, to honour the movement for
      women's rights and to assist in 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.


      As a result of the decision taken at Copenhagen the previous year,
      International Women's Day was marked for the first time (19 March) in
      Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, where more than one
      million women and men attended rallies. In addition to the right to
      vote and to hold public office, they demanded the right to work, to
      vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job.

      Less than a week later, on 25 March, the tragic Triangle Fire in New
      York City took the lives of more than 140 working girls, most of them
      Italian and Jewish immigrants. This event had a significant impact on
      labour legislation in the United States, and the working conditions
      leading up to the disaster were invoked during subsequent observances
      of International Women's Day.


      As part of the peace movement brewing on the eve of World War I,
      Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the
      last Sunday in February 1913. Elsewhere in Europe, on or around 8
      March of the following year, women held rallies either to protest the
      war or to express solidarity with their sisters.


      With 2 million Russian soldiers dead in the war, Russian women again
      chose the last Sunday in February to strike for "bread and peace".
      Political leaders opposed the timing of the strike, but the women
      went on anyway. The rest is history: Four days later the Czar was
      forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the
      right to vote. That historic Sunday fell on 23 February on the Julian
      calendar then in use in Russia, but on 8 March on the Gregorian
      calendar in use elsewhere.

      Since those early years, International Women's Day has assumed a new
      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 for coordinated
      efforts to demand women's rights and participation in the political
      and economic process. Increasingly, International Women's Day is a
      time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate
      acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played
      an extraordinary role in the history of women's rights.
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