Monday, March 11, 2013

The History of International Women's Day (Part Two of Two)

In the United States, March is the month dedicated to celebrating the powerful women throughout history and what it means to be a woman today. The month kicked off with International Women's Day but that left me wondering- when did International Women's day begin? And what were the events leading up to its  creation? 

The first time Women's Day was recognized was in 1909. This was a time of oppression and inequality among women. Events leading up to this included the march across New York City by 15,000 women in 1908 demanding voting rights and better pay. Originally the holiday was celebrated on February 28th, it wasn't until 1913 that it was changed to March. 

It was Clara Zetkin who was the original advocate for an International Women's Day. In 1910 a conference of over 100 women from 17 countries gathered to create the day dedicated to women that has been recognized ever since. 

The next year over one million men and women gathered to advocate women's right to vote, hold public office and putting an end to discrimination. When the tragic Triangle Fire in New York City occurred less than a week later, it increased the amount of attention to the issue of women's rights. 

Since then International Women's Day has only continued to grow in both popularity and significance. Since 1975, March 8th has been the day to women worldwide. Large conferences, parades, and rallies have been held on this day ever since to honor the achievements of women and encourage them to continue to push towards complete equality

Since the new millennium International Women's Day has been recognized in countless countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Russia, Vietnam, Ukraine and more. In certain countries the holiday is even as big as Mother's Day, where the women are given flowers and small presents by their husbands and children. 

Women fought so hard to have the rights we have today and each March 8th we honor those accomplishments by celebrating International Women's Day, and the United States continue these celebrations throughout the entire month of March by naming it Women's History Month. 

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