From the EDM, Education for Development, website, a brief history of the roots of International Women’s Day!
One hundred years ago, the women of the world were burdened with oppression. And one hundred years ago, they found the value of talking to each other, organizing themselves, and fighting for their rights. Then, a National Women’s Day was born in the United States, a first step towards women realizing their potential as powerful citizens of their nations and of the world. The day was February 28 1909. The now defunct Socialist Party of America was in celebration. The context, a time of turbulence and change, of ideological battles and injustice.
It would only take another year, at the International Socialist Women’s Conference in Copenhagen, when Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office of the Socialist Democratic Party of Germany, proposed the idea of an International Women’s Day. Zetkin asserted the need for a day that could be commemorated worldwide when women can collectively insist on their needs and demands.
Over 100 women from 17 countries would unanimously agree to establish an International Women’s Day (IWD) for the rest of the world. Then, it would begin to be celebrated on the third Sunday of February every year, until it is moved to March 8 in 1913. The decision to celebrate an International Women’s Day was an obvious response to the growing inequality women were experiencing in politics and the workplace – in all of their lives – across the globe. It would also serve as a celebration of the women’s movements’ fight for suffrage.