International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a focal point the movement for women's rights.
While the first observance of a Women's Day was held on February 28, 1909 in New York, March 8 was suggested by the 1910 International Socialist Woman's Conference to become an "International Woman's Day." After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.
The earliest Women's Day observance, called "National Woman's Day,"  was held on February 28, 1909 in New York, organized by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of Theresa Malkiel. Though there have been claims that the day was commemorating a protest by women garment workers in New York on March 8, 1857, researchers have described this as a myth.
In August 1910, an International Socialist Women's Conference was organized to precede the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, Denmark. Inspired in part by the American socialists, German Socialist Luise Zietz proposed the establishment of an annual Women's Day and was seconded by fellow socialist and later communist leader Clara Zetkin, supported by Käte Duncker, although no date was specified at that conference. Delegates (100 women from 17 countries) agreed with the idea as a strategy to promote equal rights including suffrage for women. The following year on March 19, 1911, IWD was marked for the first time, by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire alone, there were 300 demonstrations. In Vienna, women paraded on the Ringstrasse and carried banners honouring the martyrs of the Paris Commune. Women demanded that they be given the right to vote and to hold public office. They also protested against employment sex discrimination. The Americans continued to celebrate National Women's Day on the last Sunday in February.
In 1913 Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Saturday in February (by the Julian calendar then used in Russia).
In 1914 International Women's Day was held on March 8, possibly because that day was a Sunday, and now it is always held on March 8 in all countries. The 1914 observance of the Day in Germany was dedicated to women's right to vote, which German women did not win until 1918.
In London there was a march from Bow to Trafalgar Square in support of women's suffrage on March 8, 1914. Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested in front of Charing Cross station on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square.
On March 8, 1917, on the Gregorian calendar, in the capital of the Russian Empire, Petrograd, women textile workers began a demonstration, covering the whole city. This marked the beginning of the Russian Revolution. Women in Saint Petersburg went on strike that day for "Bread and Peace" – demanding the end of World War I, an end to Russian food shortages, and the end of czarism.Leon Trotsky wrote, "23 February (8th March) was International Woman's Day and meetings and actions were foreseen. But we did not imagine that this 'Women's Day' would inaugurate the revolution. Revolutionary actions were foreseen but without date. But in the morning, despite the orders to the contrary, textile workers left their work in several factories and sent delegates to ask for support of the strike… which led to mass strike... all went out into the streets." Seven days later, the Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II abdicated and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote.
Following the October Revolution, the BolshevikAlexandra Kollontai and Vladimir Lenin made it an official holiday in the Soviet Union, but it was a working day until 1965. On May 8, 1965 by the decree of the USSRPresidium 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 defense of their Fatherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear, and also marking 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."
From its official adoption in Soviet Russia following the Revolution in 1917, the holiday was predominantly celebrated in communist countries and by the communist movement worldwide. It was celebrated by the communists in China from 1922. After the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949 the State Council proclaimed on December 23 that March 8 would be made an official holiday with women in China given a half-day off.
Communist leader Dolores Ibárruri led a women's march in Madrid in 1936 on the eve of the Spanish Civil War.
The United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day in the International Women's Year, 1975. In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women's rights and world peace.
On the occasion of 2010 International Women's Day the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) drew attention to the hardships displaced women endure. The displacement of populations is one of the gravest consequences of today's armed conflicts. It affects women in a host of ways.
Events took place in more than 100 countries on March 8, 2011 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. In the United States, President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2011 to be "Women's History Month", calling Americans to mark IWD by reflecting on "the extraordinary accomplishments of women" in shaping the country's history. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the "100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through International Exchanges", on the eve of IWD. In the run-up to 2011 International Women's Day, the Red Cross called on States and other entities not to relent in their efforts to prevent rape and other forms of sexual violence that harm the lives and dignity of countless women in conflict zones around the world every year. In Pakistan, the Punjab Government Project Gender Reform Action Plan (GRAP), Gujranwala District celebrated this day at the GIFT University Gujranwala. Shazia Ashfaq Mattu, MPA and GRAP officer Yasir Nawaz Manj organized the events.
Australia issued an IWD 100th anniversary commemorative 20-cent coin.
In Egypt, however, the day was a step back for women. In Egypt's Tahrir Square, hundreds of men came out not in support, but to harass the women who came out to stand up for their rights as the police and military stood by watching the events unfold in front of them, doing nothing to stop the crowds of men. "The women – some in headscarves and flowing robes, others in jeans – had marched to Cairo's central Tahrir Square to celebrate International Women's Day. But crowds of men soon outnumbered them and chased them out", wrote Hadeel Al-Shalchi for The Associated Press (AP).
The UN theme for International Women's Day 2012 was Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty. In that year, Oxfam America invited people to celebrate inspiring women in their lives by sending a free International Women's Day e-Card or honoring a woman whose efforts had made a difference in the fight against hunger and poverty with Oxfam's International Women's Day award.
On the occasion of International Women's Day 2012, the ICRC called for more action to help the mothers and wives of people who have gone missing during armed conflict. The vast majority of people who go missing in connection with conflict are men. As well as the anguish of not knowing what has happened to the missing husband or son, many of these women face economic and practical difficulties. The ICRC underlined the duty of parties to a conflict to search for the missing and provide information to the families.
The UN theme for International Women's Day 2013 was "A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women", while International Women's Day 2013 declared the year's theme as The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.
The 2013 International Women's Day, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) draw attention to the plight of women in prison.
The UN theme for International Women's Day 2014 is "Equality for Women is Progress for All".
American singer Beyoncé also posted an International Women's Day video to her YouTube account. Throughout the video, her song "***Flawless" plays, which includes a portion of the "We Should All Be Feminists" speech given by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Beyoncé is a feminist.
The UN theme for International Women's Day 2015 was "Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!". Governments and activists around the world will commemorate the 20th anniversary year of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, an historic roadmap that sets the agenda for realizing women's rights.
The International Women's Day theme for 2016 was "Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality".
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, in his message issued on the eve of International Women's Day said: "On the occasion of International Womens Day, I extend warm greetings and good wishes to the women of India and thank them for their contributions over the years in the building of our nation." The ministry of women and child development announced the setting up of four more one-stop crisis centers on March 8, in addition to the eight already functioning across the country. Ahead of Women's Day, the national carrier Air India operated what it claimed to be the world's longest non-stop flight where the entire flight operations were handled by women, as part of International Women's Day celebrations. The flight, from Delhi to San Francisco, covered a distance of around 14,500 kilometers in around 17 hours.
The theme for International Women's Day 2017 was "Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030".
In a message in support of International Women's Day, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres commented on how women's rights were being "reduced, restricted and reversed". With men still in leadership positions and a widening economic gender gap, he called for change "by empowering women at all levels, enabling their voices to be heard and giving them control over their own lives and over the future of our world".
The theme for International Women's Day 2018 was chosen as - 'Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives'.
Around the world
The day is an official holiday in Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia.
In some countries, such as Cameroon, Croatia, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Chile, the day is not a public holiday, but is widely observed nonetheless. On this day it is customary for men to give the women in their lives – friends, mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc. – flowers and small gifts. In some countries (such as Bulgaria and Romania) it is also observed as an equivalent of Mother's Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
In the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, huge Soviet-style celebrations were held annually. After the fall of Communism, the holiday, generally considered to be one of the major symbols of the old regime, fell into obscurity. International Women's Day was re-established as an official "important day" by the Parliament of the Czech Republic in 2004 on the proposal of the Social Democrats and Communists. This has provoked some controversy as a large part of the public as well as the political right see the holiday as a relic of the nation's Communist past.
International Women's Day sparked violence in Tehran, Iran on March 4, 2007, when police beat hundreds of men and women who were planning a rally. (A previous rally for the occasion was held in Tehran in 2003.) Police arrested dozens of women and some were released after several days of solitary confinement and interrogation.Shadi Sadr, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh and several more community activists were released on March 19, 2007, ending a fifteen-day hunger strike.
In Italy, to celebrate the day, men give yellow mimosas to women. Communist politician Teresa Mattei chose the mimosa in 1946 as the symbol of IWD in Italy because she felt that the French symbols of the day, violets and lily-of-the-valley, were too scarce and expensive to be used effectively in Italy.
In the United States, actress and human rights activist Beata Pozniak worked with the Mayor of Los Angeles and the Governor of California to lobby members of the U.S. Congress to propose official recognition of the holiday. In February 1994, H. J. Res. 316 was introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters, along with 79 cosponsors, in an attempt to officially recognize March 8 of that year as International Women's Day. The bill was subsequently referred to, and remained in, the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. No vote of either house of Congress was achieved on this piece of legislation.
Official UN themes
|1996||Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future|
|1997||Women and the Peace Table|
|1998||Women and Human Rights|
|1999||World Free of Violence Against Women|
|2000||Women Uniting for Peace|
|2001||Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts|
|2002||Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities|
|2003||Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals|
|2004||Women and HIV/AIDS|
|2005||Gender Equality Beyond 2005; Building a More Secure Future|
|2006||Women in Decision-making|
|2007||Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women and Girls|
|2008||Investing in Women and Girls|
|2009||Women and Men United to End Violence Against Women and Girls|
|2010||Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All|
|2011||Equal Access to Education, Training, and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women|
|2012||Empower Rural Women, End Poverty and Hunger|
|2013||A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women|
|2014||Equality for Women is Progress for All|
|2015||Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!|
|2016||Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality|
|2017||Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030|
|2018||Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives|
Other holidays honoring women
- ^"Give Us Women's Suffrage (March 1914)". German History in Documents and Images. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- ^Frencia, Cintia; Gaido, Daniel (8 March 2017). "The Socialist Origins of International Women's Day". Jacobin.
- ^ abc"UN WomenWatch: International Women's Day –". UN.org. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
- ^"International Women's Day History | International Women's Day | The University of Chicago". iwd.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
- ^ abc"United Nations page on the background of the IWD". Un.org. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
- ^Miller, Sally M. (December 1978). "From Sweatshop Worker to Labor Leader: Theresa Malkiel, A Case Study". American Jewish History. 68 (2): 197. JSTOR 23881894.
- ^Temma Kaplan, "On the Socialist Origins of International Women's Day", in: Feminist Studies, 11, 1985, S. 163–171. (PDFArchived June 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.)
- ^Liliane Kandel / Françoise Picq, "Le Mythe des origines à propos de la journée internationale des femmes"Archived September 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine., in: La Revue d'en face, 12, 1982, S. 67–80.
- ^Angela Howard Zophy, Handbook of American Women's History, Garland, 1991, 187.
- ^Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, "From West to East: International Women’s Day, the First Decade”, Aspasia: The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History, vol. 6 (2012): 1-24.
- ^ abcde
Holiday for women
1932 Soviet women's day poster emphasizing the freeing of women from their second-class-citizen status.[b]
- ^English : "Give Us Women's Suffrage. Women's Day, March 8, 1914. Until now, prejudice and reactionary attitudes have denied full civic rights to women, who as, mothers, and citizens wholly fulfill their duty, who must pay their taxes to the state as well as the municipality. Fighting for this natural human right must be the firm, unwavering intention of every woman, every female worker. In this, no pause for rest, no respite is allowed. Come all, you women and girls, to the 9th public women's assembly on Sunday, March 8, 1914, at 3 pm."
- ^The text reads: "8th of March is the day of rebellion of the working women against kitchen slavery" and "Down with the oppression and narrow-mindedness of household work!".
Women’s Day » Women’s Day Speech
Women’s Day Speech
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 worldwide, commemorating the political, social and economic achievements of women. Over the decades, the objective of Women’s Day celebration has evolved and embraced culture and ethnicity to emerge as a celebration of appreciation, respect and love towards women. Women’s Day is also celebrated in schools nowadays and also forms an integral part of the curriculum to spread the awareness of women empowerment, their roles and achievements.One of the most fundamental ways of letting everyone know about the day and its importance in schools, colleges and other places is Women’s Day speeches. Thus here are some speeches on Women’s Day that can be used as a part of projects on International Women’s Day.
1. Empowering Women!
“Good morning to all the Excellencies and my friends, as we all gathered here to celebrate this event, I would like to speech on the topic of women empowerment in India. Empowering women in India is very necessary to bring gender equality or we can say that gender equality is very necessary to empower women.Gender equality is the first step to bring women empowerment in India. Men should not understand that women are made only to handle household chores or take responsibility of home and family. Instead, both (men and women) are responsible for everything of daily routine. Men too need to understand their responsibility of home and family and all other works women do so that women can get some time to think about themselves and their career. Women should also identify their strengths and abilities, and move towards a world of empowerment. On the event of Women’s Day, let us all promise to create a better world to live in. Thank you.”
2. Saluting Her Contribution to the Society!!
“First of all I would like to say good morning to all my teachers and friends. I would like to say thank to my class teacher to give me this opportunity to speech in front of you at this great occasion of International Women’s Day. On this day, huge sentiments are expressed about the power of women and many proverbs and poems directed towards women. It is really nice to have a special day for women where they are glorified to a point of being honored, awarded, and appreciated. Then why is that after so much awareness and acknowledgement of a woman’s contribution to life ,society, family and work; saluting her strength, resilience, sacrifice she still is considered only second to men and treated like a second rate citizen ? This is because for generations, it has been ingrained among women that they are not capable of doing most things. Women empowerment lies in honoring yourself and treating yourself with respect. “No one can put you down without your permission,” Eleanor Roosevelt. Thank you.”
3. Women’s Day: Building the World a better Place To Live!
“International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8, recognizing and appreciating women’s political, economic and social achievements over the decades. Woman’s Day was first observed in 1909 in the United States and it is only in 1977 that the United Nations officially declared International Women’s Day celebration on March 8. An event which started as a political affair has evolved over the years and is now celebrated by gifting flowers, greeting cards and gifts to women in most regions. International Women’s Day is also an official holiday in several countries like Belarus, Armenia, Albania, Brazil, and Cameroon. On this occasion, we should endeavor building a better world where men and women live harmoniously, free of violence and discrimination.”
4. Women a Full Circle!!
A heart-warming Good morning to everybody present here, here we have all gathered to celebrate women’s day and to celebrate the achievement of women and the strength to fight with whatever comes in her way. Over the years the essence of women’s day celebration has evolved and has taken up an all together novel form. A woman in herself is a full circle and complete within herself she has inside her the potency to fight for whatever is right! Her strength, I would like to illustrate her statement with an anecdote.
There was a warm egg in the nest of an eagle which was about to hatch, and then a farmer who lived nearby took out the egg and kept it with his hen’s eggs which were also about to hatch. After quite some time the gets hatched and they started following their mother and tried as much as to be the way their mother was. The point here to note is that that the baby eagle never knew that it was from eagle family. Though their mother had realised the eagle’s different behaviour but she never acknowledged it. One day the baby eagle saw an eagle flying powerfully high into the sky and it was amazed at the strength she was possessing and wished to be an eagle in the next birth so as to have such unwavering strength. The baby eagle never realised its strength for it always believed that it belonged to the hen’s family. The, gist of the story says that we women are the baby eagles born to an eagle’s family not knowing that we possess the same strength as that of the eagle’s family.
Stop believing women, Start living; Living your life on your terms, it’s high time!!
5. A Woman Can Help Her Fellow Woman!
Good morning everyone!! Today I am privileged to have got the chance to speak on such an important topic. It’s women’s day and it is the time not only to teach the male to be encouraging enough to help women come out of all the hell they are going through. It’s a fact that women are equally responsible for all that a woman has to face. This fact can be illustrated by the fact that it is women who is responsible for the diminishing strength of the other women, be it the home or the work place. Have you ever though why the lobster which are caught always lies together; the reason being the other lobsters does not let any of them to come out.
The more we show and use the strength of our courage the more it will get beautified!! Gather the strength to shatter those who play with rest.
6. Unite to Fight: The Cause of Women Empowerment!
Hello everyone, I am feeling obliged to have got an opportunity to speak on this auspicious and encouraging day of the year. The first lesson that all of us learn start only at home and the rest follows with the kind of attitude we have got instilled in us. Inclusive support if we say, that includes each one of us including the men. We together can start with the empowerment right at home, you don’t need to learn a lesson for it. For instance we can encourage the ladies at our home, our mother, sisters, and wives to pursue their dreams and excel in their career. A wholehearted support, be it however trivial, will boost their self confidence and will have a transforming impact on the women’ way of life. They can only come out of the pathetic situations that we humans have created.
Let’s fight it together!! Together we will over any big problem!!