Women’s Day , or rather International Women’s Day , is celebrated every year on March 8. It is an event that aims to remember the social, political and emancipatory achievements that women have achieved throughout history, but it is also the day in which the violence and discrimination that women are forced to suffer are denounced. The origins date back to the early 1900s. But why does this anniversary fall on March 8th ?
The first “Woman’s Day” in 1908
The idea of establishing a day dedicated to women was born in 1907, when the fifth congress of the second socialist international took place in Stuttgart from 18 to 24 August, followed by the international conference of socialist women which began on 26 August. Two events in which the question of universal suffrage was discussed and at the end of which the Information Office of Socialist Women was established. However, a common line was never found during those meetings. Thus, in February 1908, Corinne Brown, a leading element of the American socialist movement, presided over the conference of the Socialist Party in Chicago which was renamed “Woman’s Day”. It was a historic meeting in which topics such as the exploitation of female workers by employers were addressed, sex discrimination and the right to vote. For this reason, starting the following year, the first National Women’s Day was celebrated on February 28 throughout the nation. An event that was repeated on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
The Copenhagen Conference of 1910
In 1910, meanwhile, the Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, officially proclaimed the first International Women’s Day: a tribute to the movement in favor of women’s rights which aimed to obtain universal suffrage. The proposal, this time, was approved unanimously during the conference which was attended by more than one hundred women from 17 different countries: among them also the first three elected to the Finnish Parliament. However, at the end of the meeting a fixed and universally recognized date was not established. Thus, in 1911, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland on March 19: over one million people participated in the demonstrations. Right to vote,
The first time on March 8th
The first time that the date of March 8 appeared in the context of International Women’s Day was in 1914. It was a series of meetings that women made to protest against the violence of the ongoing war and to show solidarity with the Russian citizens who the previous year, in 1913, they had celebrated their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday of February, at the same time as the pacifist movements calling for an end to the violence of the First World War. Thus, in 1917, faced with over two million soldiers who died in the conflict, Russian women chose the last Sunday in February to proclaim a strike to the cry of “bread and peace”. A choice criticized by the politicians and the ruling class of the time, but which was nevertheless carried forward: a few days later the Tsar abdicated and the provisional government gave women the right to vote. It was February 23 according to the calendar used at the time in Russia, March 8 according to the Gregorian calendar of all other countries.
UN recognition in the 1970s
It was in 1975, coinciding with International Women’s Year, that the United Nations celebrated March 8 as International Women’s Day for the first time in history. On December 16, 1977, the United Nations General Assembly proposed to each country, with resolution 32/142 , to declare one day a year “United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace”. March 8, which was already celebrated in many countries, was chosen as the official date by many nations.