Story behind Women’s day celebration | Story No. 154

International Women’s Day is celebrated throughout the world in honour of struggles, joys and the awesomeness of being a woman.

Today’s woman is a ‘Superwoman’ who is breaking all the stereotypes . Today’s woman is enjoying her own identity, power, beauty and satisfaction.

But that was not the case in history. And this journey helps us to understand the significance of International Women’s Day.

When is International Women’s Day? March 8, right? But the date was never constant.

The day which is today a global celebration started with a protest for women’s rights.

The history dates back to 1857 when female workers protested against poor working conditions and less pay.

After some five decades, in 1908 about 15,000 women in New York City protested for their rights, shorter working hours and fair pay.

In 1908, The Socialist Party of America announced that every year last Sunday in February should be a holiday and be celebrated as the National Women’s Day.

On February 28, 1908, the first National Women’s Day was celebrated. Soon the idea of dedicating a complete day to women spread in all other countries.

In August 1910, International Women’s Conference was organised in Denmark.

During the conference, taking the America as the inspiration, German Socialist Luise Zietz came up with a proposal for International Women’s Day and it was supported by communist leader Clara Zetking and other delegates.

No particular date was decided in the conference. On March 19, 1911 first International Women’s Day was celebrated in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria.

In 1913, International Women’s Day was celebrated on the last Sunday of February when Russian women joined the fight for peace.

It was in 1975 when the United Nations started observing the day. In 1914, International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8, probably because it was a Sunday. On March 8, 1914, a march was conducted in London in support of women’s suffrage. In 1917, on the day February Revolution was started asking for the end of World War I.

On May 1965, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics declared International Women’s Day as a holiday making it a non-working day. Following the announcement communists in China started celebrating the day from 1922 and in Spain from 1936.

In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly asked the member states to announce March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and peace.

Today, several countries like China, Cuba, Nepal, Russia, Ukraine, Uganda, Vietnam and Mangolia, observe March 8 as an official holiday.

In Portugal and Italy, women celebrate the day by organising parties and dinners. In Italy, women are given yellow mimosas by men. While in countries like Colombia, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Rusia, Brazil and Slovakia, the day is celebrated by distributing gifts and flowers to women.

Why do we still celebrate it?

The original aim – to achieve full gender equality for women the world – has still not been realised.

A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that of men.

According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close until 2186.

On IWD, women across the world come together to force the world to recognise these inequalities – while also celebrating the achievements of women who have overcome these barriers.

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