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International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

International Women's Day celebrated to remember the importance of women rights and those who fought for them.

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8. The idea of creating Women’s Day came in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the United States and Europe, in the context of women’s struggles for better living and working conditions, the right to vote. On 26 August 1910, during the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen, German socialist leader Clara Zetkin proposed the establishment of an annual celebration of women’s rights struggles.

The International Women’s Day celebrations took place from 1909 on different days of February and March, depending on the country. The first celebration took place on February 28, 1909 in the United States, followed by demonstrations and marches in other European countries in the following years, usually during the commemorative week of the Paris Commune at the end of March. The demonstrations united the socialist movement, which fought for equality of economic, social and labor rights to the sufragista movement, that fought for equality of political rights. In 1910, during an international women’s conference, which preceded the meeting of the Second Socialist International in Copenhagen, Denmark, the International Women’s Day was celebrated the following year on March 19 by numerous demonstrations in countries such as Germany, Austria-Hungary, Denmark and Switzerland.

Later, in early 1917 in Russia, demonstrations of Russian women workers took place for better living and working conditions and against the entry of tsarist Russia in World War I. The protests were brutally suppressed, precipitating the beginning of the Revolution of 1917. The date of the main demonstration, March 8, 1917 (February 23 by the Julian calendar), was instituted as International Women’s Day among the international socialist movement.

After 1945, the date became mainly a holiday commemorated in the so-called communist bloc countries. In 1955, according to the French authors Liliane Kandel and Françoise Picq, the myth emerged that the date would have as origin the celebration of the fight and the strike of women workers of the textile sector in New York in 1857 that had been hard repressed by the police or dead In a criminal fire at the factory, according to different versions of the myth. There is no evidence that this occurred and according to the authors, the origin of this version occurred among French feminists who during the Cold War sought an origin to the celebration that was unrelated to the history of the socialist struggle.

In the former Soviet Union, during Stalinism, International Women’s Day became an element of party propaganda. It was also widely celebrated in the countries of the socialist bloc in Western Europe.

In Western countries, International Women’s Day was celebrated at the beginning of the century until the 1920s, having long been forgotten and only regained by the feminist movement in the 1960s. Today, the celebration of International Women’s Day has lost Partially its original meaning, acquiring a festive and commercial character. On that date, employers, certainly not intending to evoke the spirit of the striking workers of March 8, 1917, often distribute red roses or small treats among their maids.

In 1975, it was designated by the UN as the International Year of Women, and in December 1977, International Women’s Day was adopted by the United Nations to remind women of the social, political and economic achievements of women.

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