Wednesday, 2 January 2019

International Women's Day

International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8 every year . Its a focal point in the movement for women's rights.  After the Socialist Party of America organised a women day on February 28 ,1909 in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested a Women’s day to be held annually. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the Socialist and Communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.                    

The earliest Women's Day observance called National Women's Day was held on February 28 1909 in New York organised by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of Theresa Malkiel. In August 1910 International Socialist Women's conference was organised to precede the general meeting of Socialist  second international in Copenhagen denmark.  Inspired in part by by the American socialists, German Socialist Luise Zietz proposed the establishment of an annual Women's day and was seconded by fellow socialist Clara Zetkin. The following year on March 19 ,1911 IWD was marked for the first time ,by over a million people in Austria, Denmark ,Germany and Switzerland. Women demanded that they be given the right to vote and to hold public office . They also protested against employment sex discrimination . The Americans  continued to celebrate National Women's Day on the last Sunday of February. 
 In  1913  Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Saturday in February.  In1914 International Women's Day was held on March 8 in Germany  possibly that day was a Sunday , and now its always held on March8 in all countries. The 1914 observance of the day in Germany was dedicated to women's right to vote which German women did not win until 1918.                                                                   

On March 8 1917 in the capital of the Russian Empire ,Petrograd women textile workers began a demonstration covering the whole city . This marked the beginning of the February Revolution which alongside the October revolution made up the Russian revolution. Seven days later ,the Emperor of Russia ,Nicholas 2 abdicated and the provisional government granted women the right to vote.                                                                    

 From its official adoption in Soviet Russia following the revolution in1917 the holiday was predominantly celebrated in communist countries. It was celebrated by the communist in China from 1922. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1 1949 the state council proclaimed on December 23 that March 8 would be made an official holiday with women in China given a half day off.             
The United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day in the International Women's  Year, 1975. In 1977 ,the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women's rights and world peace.

- By Poorvi Bellap    

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