International Women’s Day: Between the first spark and UN legislation

On March 8 every year, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. It is well known that it is a day to honor women and appreciate their sacrifices in all fields.

Celebrating this day has gained importance since the international recognition of women’s rights and the emergence of women’s associations that defend these rights and call for their support in all forums.

It is no secret that women have made great progress in recent decades by assuming the reins of government in many countries and responsibilities in many institutions, so what is the story of International Women’s Day?

Women’s Day.. The Beginning

It is not possible to talk about International Women’s Day without addressing women’s rights in various fields. Hence the story began. In the year 1856, in New York in the United States of America, thousands of women took to the streets, demanding better working conditions. This prompted political leaders at the time to start serious research on the issue of working women’s rights.

On March 8, 1908, a similar scene occurred, and the women of the same city demonstrated to demand the right to vote and to reduce their working hours.

In the following year, i.e. 1909, the National American Women’s Day celebrations were launched in honor of the female garment workers who demonstrated in New York; In an effort to get rid of the harsh working conditions that were imposed on them.

In 1910 Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office of the Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed that the world celebrate women on one day. Her proposal was responded to by about 100 women from 17 countries who formed what was then called the “Division for the Advancement of Women.”

In 1911; the occasion was celebrated for the first time on March 19 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

In 1913, as part of the pacifist movements on the eve of World War I, the women of Russia celebrated the first Women’s Rights Day on the last Sunday in February.

In Europe; Women began to celebrate the occasion on March 8 or one of the two days following it, and for this purpose they held rallies to protest against the war or to declare their solidarity with others who suffer from its scourge.

In 1917, after two million Russian soldiers were killed in the war, women of Russia also went on strike for peace and for bread on the last Sunday of February.

The women of the world had to wait until 1975 to gain recognition by the United Nations.

Women’s Day in the world

Women’s Day became an international day on March 8, 1975, when it was recognized by the United Nations General Assembly. Since then, various events have been held in most countries. The achievements of many women in various fields are recalled, as well as the difficult conditions that millions of them live in in some countries for reasons including poverty, war, violence, and so on.

In 1995, during the Fourth World Conference on Women, 189 governments adopted the Beijing Declaration and Program of Action, which constituted a road paper aimed at enforcing and defending women’s rights. The paper included commitments to protect women, their freedom, their choices, and support them in the face of violence. Its text also included women’s right to education, participation in decision-making, and a fair salary at work.

The United Nations website notes that women are the most vulnerable to poor conditions while working in fields such as agriculture, and the most affected by poor social, economic and cultural conditions. It calls for the need to work to achieve equality between women and men, and notes the role of women in leadership and in introducing initiatives aimed at building a better world, and stresses the importance of giving women the ability to raise their voice in order to obtain appropriate opportunities for them and to live on an equal footing with men. This is what is repeated in the annual celebration of International Women’s Day.

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