8th March 2021 by

International Women’s Day 8 March

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on 8 March every year and is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. This year’s theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’.

1909 – The earliest Women’s Day observance, called “National Woman’s Day,” was held in New York City organized by the Socialist Party of America.

1910 – In August an International Socialist Women’s Conference was organized to precede the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen. Inspired in part by the American socialists, German Socialist Luise Zietz proposed the establishment of an annual Women’s Day. Delegates (100 women from 17 countries) agreed with the idea as a strategy to promote equal rights, including suffrage for women.

1911 – IWD was marked for the first time by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire alone, there were 300 demonstrations. In Vienna, women paraded on the Ringstrasse and carried banners honouring the martyrs of the Paris Commune. Women demanded that they be given the right to vote and to hold public office. They also protested against employment sex discrimination.

1913 – Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Saturday in February

1914 – IWD was held on March 8 in Germany. The 1914 observance of the day in Germany was dedicated to women’s right to vote, which German women did not win until 1918.

1914 – In London there was a march from Bow to Trafalgar Square in support of women’s suffrage. Activist Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested in front of Charing Cross station on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square

1917 – In Petrograd, the Russian Empire’s capital, women textile workers began a demonstration covering the whole city. Women in Saint Petersburg went on strike that day for “Bread and Peace” – demanding the end of World War I, an end to Russian food shortages and the end of czarism. Women gained suffrage in Russia in 1917.

1922 –  IWD  was commemorated by the communists in China from 1922.

1927 – In the Chinese city of Guangzhou, there was a march of 25,000 women and male supporters

1936 – After its official adoption in Soviet Russia following the Revolution in 1917, the holiday was predominantly celebrated in communist countries and by the communist movement worldwide.

Communist leader  Dolores Ibarruri led a women’s march in Madrid in 1936 on the eve of the Spanish Civil War.

1949 – After the founding of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October 1949, the State Council proclaimed on December 23 that March 8 would be made an official holiday with women in China given a half-day off.

1965 – On 8 May 1965, International Women’s Day was declared a non-working day in the USSR.

1975 – The UN began celebrating International Women’s Day in 1975

In some countries (such as Bulgaria and Romania) it is also observed as an equivalent of Mother’s Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

  • The day is widely celebrated in France as La journée internationale des femmes

  • To celebrate  Festa della donna in Italy, men give yellow mimosas to women. Communist politician Teresa Mattei chose the mimosa in 1946 as the symbol of IWD in Italy because she felt that the French symbols of the day – violets and lily of the valley – were too scarce and expensive to be used effectively in Italy.
  •  International Women’s Day was re-established as an official “important day” by the Czech Republic in 2004
  • As of 2019, International Women’s Day was celebrated as a public holiday in Berlin
  • In Pakistan, the Aurat March has challenged misogyny since 2018



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