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International Women’s Day: A Brief History

International Women’s Day: A Brief History

The International Women’s Day Celebration day was first observed on February 28th, 1909 in New York, and was originally called “National Woman’s Day.” It was organized by the Socialist Party of America, at the suggestion of the then head of its National Women’s Committee: Theresa Malkiel.

It was among the many responses Mrs. Malkiel gave to the suppression and second-class labelling of women by society. This movement was part of what inspired Luize Ziets, the first woman to hold a leading party post in Germany, to propose an annual Women’s Day celebration, in Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Switzerland. It was suggested as a strategy to promote equal right’s among genders, including the right to vote and hold offices of power. The proposal was made at an International Socialist Women’s conference in 1910, and on March 19, 1911, International Women’s Day, was marked for the first time by over a million people in the previously mentioned countries. In Women demanded that they be given the right to vote and hold public office. They also protested against employment sex discrimination.

The holiday spread to several other European countries, mainly England and Russia over the years, as women took a stand and led protests for the right to vote, to end wars and food shortages (In Russia 1917). After the demonstration in Russia, it became an annual celebration on the 8th of March and was adopted by several communist communities worldwide. Finally, the United Nations General Assembly, invited its member states to set March 8 as the UN Day, for women’s rights, and world peace.

Ever since, the UN has been the main sponsor of the event, and continually encourages more countries to participate in the holiday, and embrace its goal of celebrating ordinary women who have performed extraordinary acts in the history of their country or community. So, to that, we wish women everywhere: the matriarchs, caregivers, lovers, supporters, employers, employees, without whom humanity would be incomplete, a happy International Women’s Day. Shine on Queens, shine on, and never let the world silence your beautiful voices.

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