International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's, a time of great 
expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth 
and the rise of radical ideologies. 

1908-Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women's 
oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in 
campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City 
demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

1909-In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National 
Woman's Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women 
continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.

1910-In August, an International Women's Conference was organized to precede the 
general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen. Inspired in part by the 
American socialists and German Socialist Luise Zietz who proposed the establishment of 
an annual 'International Woman's Day (singular) and was seconded by fellow socialist and 
later communist leader Clara Zetkin. Although no date was specified at that conference, 
delegates (100 women from 17 countries) agreed with the idea as a strategy to promote 
equal rights, including suffrage, for women. The following year, on March 19, 1911, IWD 
was marked for the first time, by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and 
1911-Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen , International Women's Day (IWD) 
was honored the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19th. 

More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women's 
rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However 
less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic 'Triangle Fire' in New York City took the 
lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This 
disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labor legislation in 
the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women's Day events. 

1911 also saw women's 'Bread and Roses' campaign.
The United Nations General Assembly has designated November 25 as the International 
Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The premise of the day is to raise 
awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence 
and other forms of violence; furthermore, one of the aims of the day is to highlight that the 
scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden. Historically, the date is based on date 
of the 1960 assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican 
Republic; the killings were ordered by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930–1961). In 
1981, activists marked November 25 as a day to combat and raise awareness of violence 
against women more broadly; on December 17, 1999, the date received its official United 
Nations (UN) resolution.

On International Women’s Day we need to stand with all the women around the world who 
are fighting for their basic rights as women and as human beings along with their brothers. 
We understand that the world we live in is waging a war on women and children in 
different forms and justifications such as religious laws and practices, ethnic and cultural 
traditions, and economic exploitations. Women are also the first casualty of wars in forms 
of homelessness, malnutrition, rape, prostitution and violence. There are numerous 
examples of atrocities against women by both sides of warring factions in Afghanistan, 
Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and many other war torn countries. 

While women around the world are the first to rise up against discrimination and injustices 
be it socially, politically and economic exploitation, they are the first group to be pushed 
aside and subjugate to continued anti women laws, unrestrained discriminations and harsh 
economic exploitation. Condition of women in post 1979 Iranian revolution, Iraq after U.S 
occupation, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia after regime changes are few examples of unfinished 
struggles for peace and justice. 

The irony is that the experience of two U.S invasions in the region has shattered 
any illusions among women in the region and other social movements about the so-
called 'liberation' by US-led interventions. The barbaric consequences for the women 
of Afghanistan and Iraq are eloquent testimony to that. Women in Iran are fully aware 
that they are the only force that can change their destiny and there is no such force as a 
“liberation” army to free them from the suffrage. 

While women in industrial nations have made historical progress in winning the voting 
rights, protection under the law, and access to more social opportunities, however our 
struggle is not over in both U.S and globally. In U.S, we are still faced with no equal pay 
for equal work, an epidemic of violence against us, lack of full reproductive rights, lack of 
better health care and a social safety net that ensures the adequate care of our families.
Globally, we are still witnessing our sisters being faced with “honor killing”, genital 
mutilation, gang rapes, stoning to death for “adultery” and unfair labor practices for the 
interest of big multinational corporations. There are many obstacles to our complete 
liberation that must be cleared away both here and globally!
Our journey has just started. While we have reached several mile stones within the last 
hundred years, our struggle and activism for the freedom and justice of women around the 
world continues !