Friday, March 8

International Women’s Day



An IWD doodle from Google.

Happy International Women’s Day to all of my fellow women near and far! Although women’s rights have made leaps and bounds in my lifetime I still don’t feel we are making the strides that we should to be equal to men.

Why don’t we have a woman as president yet? Maybe when we finally have a woman in the White House will I feel better about the way things still stand. To me, the presidency is a “man’s club” and I don’t think I will live long enough to see a woman president but I hope to.

When I look back at the last year one thing that comes to mind is we finally saw women in the military get full combat duty. Women are sorely needed in the military yet it’s also been “male orientated” since the beginning of time. Being in combat wouldn’t be something I’d want to do but the important thing is that we have the right to do so.

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What is International Women’s Day? I’m glad you asked.  

After more than 100 years, International Women’s Day draws millions to commemorate the advancements made in human rights and to discuss the challenges women continue to face in politics, education, employment, and other areas of daily life.

However, International Women’s Day originally was a communist movement and commemorated the working rights protests led by female garment workers. Many seem to forget the holiday’s ties to the working rights movement in the United States and the Socialist Party.

The origins of the holiday can be traced back to March 8, 1857, when garment workers in New York City staged a protest against inhumane working conditions and low wages. The police attacked the protesters and dispersed them, but the movement continued and led to the creation of the first women’s labor union.

Fast forward to March 8, 1908: 15,000 women marched in New York City for shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights, and an end to child labor. The slogan “Bread and Roses” emerged, with bread symbolizing economic security and roses for better living standards.

In May of 1908, the Socialist Party of America declared that the last Sunday in February would be National Women’s Day. The first National Women’s Day was celebrated on Feb. 28, 1909 in the United States.

International Women’s Day (then International Working Women’s Day) was introduced during the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Denmark. Clara Zetkin, a German socialist, suggested a holiday honoring the strike of garment workers in the United States. The proposal received unanimous approval from the 100 women from 17 countries.

The proposal did not give a fixed date of observance, but in the first years International Women’s Day was observed on different days in March. In 1911, Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland supported the holiday on March 19, with more than a million men and women rallying.

In New York on March 25th, 1911 there was a fire at The Triangle Waist Company killing 146 young immigrant workers. The silent protest march gathered more than 100,000 people. The incident led to the creation of the Factory Investigating Commission, which included Francis Perkins, who would become the first female secretary of labor, and labor union activists.

International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911 in four European countries, which held rallies drawing thousands of supporters. Until the 1970s, the day was largely recognized in Europe, but the significance of the day began expanding after 1975, when the United Nations made March 8 the official date.

In the US there will be races, walks and celebrations of all sorts in almost every state, but although it’s a national holiday women will still be expected to go to work today or play hooky. Although celebrated this holiday is not listed on calendars and I had to add it myself.

In Washington at 11am there will be a parade to commemorate those lost in the War on Women, to be followed by a tribute to those still stationed overseas in the Mommy Wars. There will be a tug of war, the burning of the bras, cake and all kinds of celebratory fun.

Many women in China will have a half-day off of work in honor of International Women’s Day, and some employers even shower their female employees with gifts.

In Indonesia, one local organizer is sharing a song she wrote called More than a Diamond, which celebrates Indonesian women. The idea is to have young students learn the song, and sing it together every March 8 and April 21, the dates of Indonesia’s Women’s Day.

In Fiji, women’s rights organizations are bringing together young girls to talk about the importance of strong female characters in popular culture and fiction.

The University of Canterbury in New Zealand, meanwhile, will host a breadth of panel discussions, open to the public, on women in the media, politics, and business to honor the date.

So all you guys out there, come and celebrate our greatness with us! Remember that without us, this world would be a lot less exciting and very empty.

Source: Wikipedia, Christian Monitor, NY Times, Google

 photo 01-1.gifTo all my friends here and in other countries; a rose, to hope for better living standards for all women tying to work and raise children in todays world economy. “Solidarity sisters unite!”

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