Brief History on International Women’s Day

Every year on March 8th, we celebrate International Women’s Day, but why? International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over a century, starting in 1911. This day is celebrated to acknowledge the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the globe, but what is the history behind International Women’s Day?

In 1909, the first National Woman’s Day was celebrated in the United States on February 28th in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. Women continued to celebrate National Women’s Day on the last Sunday of February until 1913. 

In 1910, a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. It was at this conference that Clara Zetkin, Leader of the Women’s Office for Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration, a Women’s Day, to press for their demands. This was approved and International Women’s Day was honoured for the first time on March 19th, 1911. 

In 1913, International Women’s Day was transferred to March 8th and has remained the global date ever since. However, it wasn’t until 1975 that International Women’s Day was celebrated by the United Nations. 

Although women have made huge progress throughout the past century in their fight for equality, the gap has yet to be closed completely. International Women’s Day is an important reminder of not only how far we have come, but how far we must go to achieve true equality. It is important to recognize and celebrate the amazing women who have fought for equality and women’s rights, but their achievements should not only be celebrated on International Women’s Day, but year-round. It is also important to recognize that when we celebrate International Women’s Day, we celebrate ALL women of ALL backgrounds. 

I encourage you to take time this week to celebrate the women around you and those who have fought so that the women in your life have the rights and the opportunities they have today, while carrying on the conversation and continuing to fight for ALL women.