Today is International Women’s Day. Rooted in the international push for women’s suffrage and in the labor/socialist movements, the first celebration was held in 1911 on March 19, a date selected to commemorate the 1848 uprisings when the King of Prussia was compelled to acknowledge the power of the people.
The occasion and date were suggested by Clara Zetkin of the German Social Democratic Party at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910. Delegates from 17 countries representing trade unions, socialist parties, and working women’s clubs unanimously approved the call. News of the event, spread by the socialist press and word of mouth helped make the first observance successful in much of Europe with packed meetings, parades, and at least one tense standoff with police.Just before World War I German Socialists celebrated International Women's Day in 1914.
In 1913, International Women’s Day was moved to its present date of March 8. Despite the eruption of the First World War, which damaged many international relationships, Women’s Day grew year by year.
In the wake of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, American unions, the Socialist Party, and later the Communist Party spread the celebration through the next two decades, but because of its radical association, the Suffrage movement and middle class women’s organizations shunned it.The Feminist movement of the 1970's revived American interest in International Women's Day although its socialist and labor roots were often obscured.
It faded in this country until it was taken up by a new generation of feminists in ‘60’s, largely shorn of its original working class basis.
In 1975 the United Nations officially began promoting and sponsoring International Women’s Day. Each year the U.N. designates a theme for the celebration, although individual countries and groups are allowed, even encouraged, to develop their own themes based on their own experiences and challenges.
The theme for 2022 is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, and call for climate action for women, by women. From the UN Women web page”
With the latest data, we now understand the vital link between gender, social equity and climate change, and recognize that without gender equality today, a sustainable future, an equal future, remains out of reach.
Women and girls experience the greatest impacts of the climate crisis as it amplifies existing gender inequalities and puts women’s lives and livelihoods at risk. Across the world, women depend more on, yet have less access to, natural resources, and often bear a disproportionate responsibility for securing food, water, and fuel.
As women and girls bear the burden of climate impacts, they are also essential to leading and driving change in climate adaption, mitigation and solutions. Without the inclusion of half of the world’s population, it is unlikely that solutions for a sustainable planet and a gender equal world tomorrow will be realized.
However, the official International Women’s Day web site, while recognizing he United Nations designation, is promoting an alternative theme—#Break the Bias:
Imagine a gender equal world.
A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Together we can forge women's equality.
Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions—all day, every day.
We can break the bias in our communities.
We can break the bias in our workplaces.
We can break the bias in our schools, colleges and universities.
Together, we can all break the bias—on International Women’s Day (IWD) and beyond.
The encourage women, men, and genderfluid individuals to participate in the movement by using the x-crossed arms pose and “share your #BreakTheBias image, video, resources, presentation or articles on social media using #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias to encourage further people to commit to helping forge an inclusive world.”
The Old Man is in!
Today, International Women’s Day is observed as a national holiday in many nations, although disguised as a version of Mothers’ Day in some conservative societies. Among the hold outs in designating an official status are many Islamic nations like Iran where attempts to mark the Day with public demonstrations have been met by police attacks and the jailing of many leading women militants.
And, of course, in the United States a deep fear and resentment by conservatives of any International celebration, particularly one with Socialist roots and promoted by the United Nations, prevents any official participation, even when it was—or especially because it was—smiled upon and acknowledged by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.Women of the Ukraine show the world strength.
This year the leading role of women in ecological movements, demands for action on climate change, and climate justice are widely acknowledged. And the perfidious invasion of Ukraine ordered by Vladimir Putin has highlighted the amazing strength of women in the defense of their homes, families, nations, and equality.
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