For all the Women out there.
March 8th will bring the people of the world an opportunity to celebrate women. Originally called International Working Women’s Day, the focus of the day varies widely, but essentially surrounds a respect and appreciation for the social, economic and political advancements that the female community have made over the past decades.
First occurring on February 28th, 1909 in New York, U.S.A. under the guardianship of the Socialist Party of America, as an unofficial ‘national observance’ in remembrance of the strike of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU).
In August of 1910, a conference was organised to precede a general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Denmark. Fuelled in part by her American counterparts German Socialist Luise Zietz proposed the establishment of an annual Woman’s Day, her suggestion was then seconded by fellow socialist and later communist leader Clara Zetkin, although, at this stage there was no agreed date the delegates involved came to the agreement that the day would go far in promoting equal rights for women, including that of Women Suffrage.
The following year International Women’s Day was observed (March 19th, 1911) by over one million people across Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire alone, there were around 30 demonstrations. In Vienna, women paraded on the Ringstrasse and carried banners honouring the martyrs of the Paris Commune. During protests, women demanded the right to vote, the abolition of sex discrimination and general women’s rights. Whilst across the pond in the U.S. the Americans continued to celebrate their National Women’s on the last Sunday in February.
On March 8th, 1914 Silvia Pankhurst was arrested in front of Charring Cross, London whilst she was on her way to speak at Trafalgar Square protests.
Notably, in the USSR women’s day was a working day up until 1965. On May 8th, by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, International Women’s Day was declared a non-working day in the USSR “in commemoration of the outstanding merits of Soviet Women in communistic construction, in the defence of their Fatherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and the rear, and also making the great contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples, and the struggle for peace. But still, women’s day must be celebrated as are other holidays.” This acknowledgement of the female members of the Soviet Union by the Soviet Union marked a turning point in the social position of women. This occurring alongside the steady decline of the traditional nuclear family and only four years before the British Monarch signed the Divorce Reform Act 1969 onto the statute books, clearly illustrates that the concept of an International Women’s day was a concept that developed alongside the socio-economic and political transformation of women’s rights and their position in society.
The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” Further, an independent campaign, separate from the UN, is being run by financial firm EY alongside other corporate partners, organizing events around a ‘PledgeForParity’ Hashtag.
So here at Phantom, we would like to thank every Woman around the globe for all that they do and on a more personal note, I would like to thank Janet, Stacey and Evelyn, for all you do and have done for me. #PledgeForParity.
Sources combined: available on request.