81International Women's Day
- Mar 6, 2005Dear 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
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.
- << Previous post in topic Next post in topic >>