March 8th annually marks International Women’s Day, a globally recognized event intended to celebrate women and acknowledge the struggle for women’s rights.
I wanted to do some research regarding the origins of this event, and an article on Independent.co.uk provided some insightful information addressing how and why this event came to be.
International Women’s Day was initially titled Working Women’s Day and was first commemorated on February 28th, 1909 in New York. The initial event was intended to recognize the 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union which involved 15,000 workers protesting throughout the city’s lower East region demanding social and political rights. The first International Women’s Day celebration occurred in 1914 on March 8th, and this calendar date continues to represent the event annually.
The article explains that the day was titled as a national holiday in the Soviet Union in 1917 until it was adopted by the United Nations in 1977. Each year since its adoption the UN provides the event with a designated theme, this year’s theme being “Be Bold for Change”.
The UN refers to the event as: “… A day when women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.”
International Women’s Day is now an official holiday in numerous countries, some examples being Nepal, Madagascar, China, Zambia, Vietnam, Mongolia, Cambodia and Afghanistan, however the holiday is strictly for women in Nepal, Madagascar and China.
I feel as though this day encounters a lot of scrutiny and criticism because there fails to be an International Men’s Day, however women have been oppressed to a greater extent than most men throughout history. I think International Women’s Day is a wonderful way to give credit to hardworking women across the globe, and I encourage all persons to participate in its celebrations.