Today, we celebrate the International Women’s Day. Do you know the true origin of women’s day, why is it on March 8?
Fire in the Triangle factory
The fire in the Triangle factory in New York on March 25, 1911 was the most serious industrial accident in New York history. It caused the death of 146 people (123 women and 23 men). The event had a strong social and political echo. As a result, the United States government approved new workplace safety laws.
The New York fire is one of the events remembered as the origin of the International Women’s Day but it is not from this that it originates. The strongly political connotation of International Women’s Day, the political isolation of Russia and the communist movement and, finally, the Second World War, contributed to the loss of the historical memory of the real origins of the event.
The Congress of the second Socialist International held in Stuttgart in 1907 set the foundations for starting to talk about the women question. Thanks to a resolution, they started to fight for universal suffrage. A few days later, the Information Office for Socialist Women was founded.
In May 1908, the President of the Office, Corinne Brown, presided over the Sunday socialist conference in Chicago – due to the unavailability of the usual speaker – a conference to which women had been invited. From there we can start talking about a Women’s Day.
The demonstration organized by the American Socialist Party on February 28, 1909 strongly supported the women’s right to vote. They also asked for a salary increase and improved working conditions. Thus was born the first Women’s Day in America.
In 1910, the American delegates proposed during the International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen to establish a day dedicated to claiming women’s rights. In Denmark, Germany, Austria and Switzerland they celebrated it for the first time on March 19, 1911.
Why March, 8?
With the start of the First World War, the celebrations stopped to resume on March 8, 1917 when, in St. Petersburg, women led a demonstration for the end of the conflict.
Here is finally the fateful 8 March: in the Second International Conference of Communist Women of 1921, this date was set for Women’s Day.
Mimosa was chosen as the flower symbol of Women’s Day because it blooms in early March.
The United Nations Agency for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women has announced that the theme for International Women’s Day on 8 March 2022 is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.
This theme recognises the contribution of women around the world who bear the burden to adapt and respond to climate change and its mitigation to build a more sustainable future for all.
Indeed, there will be no sustainable future without the essential contribution of women.
This year, I think that we shall open our eyes to the plight of women and girls in conflict zones. They are particularly exposed, and victims of all kinds of abuse.
Today, my thought goes especially to the women of Ukraine and Afghanistan.
I stand wholeheartedly with women who are fighting for their survival, their rights, and their children’ rights to live in a better, safer, and more equal world. Equal rights must remain the main objective in all circumstances and in any place.
Unfortunately, there is nothing to celebrate today. Women are still predominantly victims of tragedies and multiple injustices.
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