03.7.14 // International Women’s Day: Let’s Celebrate!
Tomorrow is March 8, 2014. What are you planning to do with your day?
I’m planning to write with friends, go to a GeekGirlCon planning meeting, and celebrate International Women’s Day!
Truthfully, I hadn’t heard of International Women’s Day until one of our GeekGirlCon staffers asked if we were planning to write a post for it. I took a quick look at the International Women’s Day website and realized that I did, indeed, want to write about it. The information in this post has been gathered from that web site.
The history of International Women’s Day in the United States begins over 100 years ago. In 1908, over 15,000 women marched through New York City asking for shorter working hours, better pay, and voting rights—something that had long been denied women around the world. The last Sunday in February was declared the official National Women’s Day, and was observed across the United States from 1909 until 1913.
The first International Women’s Day was honored in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland on March 19, 1911. Less than a week later, a tragedy dubbed the “Triangle Fire” in New York City killed more than 140 women, which called attention to working conditions in the United States. Women across Europe campaigned against the beginnings of World War I in 1914, and in 1917, March 8 was declared International Women’s Day, and it has remained on that day.
There are events around the world every March 8 to bring attention to equality of women in every level of society. International Women’s Day is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia. Interestingly, it is not an official holiday in the United States, but the entire month of March has been designated Women’s History Month.
Many people may not realize that women and girls often do not hold equal positions with men and boys in everyday life. International Women’s Day aims to change that by supporting legislation around the world for equal pay, health care (and the rights to make their own health care decisions), education, job opportunities, and ending violence against women.