On 19 March, 1911, International Women's Day (IWD) was observed
for the first time. And it became a tradition since, going from
strength to strength with time. Today, International Women's Day has
grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across
developed and developing countries alike. Read on to know about the
first International Women's Day celebration. If you like reading the
article and want to share it with your friends and loved ones, just click here and pass on this page to them. Wish you a Happy
International Women's Day!
Every year, International Women's Day is
celebrated in various countries across the world. For women in countries
across the globe, it is an occasion that celebrates their spirit and their
role in the society. It honors the the struggle, the tireless hard work and
contribution of all women in their respective fields everywhere in the world
and signifies their freedom, rights, and recognition in a patriarchal order.
It is the day when we pay a tribute and hand over small gifts of
appreciation to our mothers, sisters and all females who are a part of our
But when was International Women's Day observed first?
The industrial boom at the turn of the 20th Century saw booming population
growth and the rise of radical ideologies. This was a time when women began
to step out of the confines of their homes and work in the various mills and
factories to supplement the family income. But gender oppression and
inequality in workplace coupled with unjust working conditions spurred them
to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Further, with
economic emancipation women began to be more self sufficient and conscious
of their rights that had been denied to them till then in a predominantly
patriarchal set up. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City
demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. This was the time
when the idea of having an international women's day was first put forward.
This set the stage for bigger things to come.
In the United States, National Women's Day was observed on February 28th,
1909 following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. The
following year, the Socialist Party organized the first international
women's conference Copenhagen and proposed to establish an 'International
Women's Day' to honour the women's rights movement and to assist in
achieving universal suffrage for women.
The proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by the conference of over
100 women from 17 countries, which included the first three women to be
elected to the Finnish parliament. No fixed date was selected for the
Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1910, International Women's
Day (IWD) was observed for the first time on 19 March, 1911 in places like
Austria, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and some other European countries.
More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for
women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end
discrimination. In Germany and Austria, the event was a resounding success.
The date of the celebration was chosen by German women because, on 19 March,
1848, the Prussian king had promised many reforms in the face of an armed
uprising, including an unfulfilled voting right for women. Hence, a million
leaflets were distributed throughout Germany before IWD in 1911 calling for
action on the right to vote for women. In Germany meetings were organized
everywhere, in the small towns and even in the villages. These were attended
both by women and men. For a change, many men stayed home to take care of
their children while their wives went to the meetings.
Henceforth, International Women's Day (IWD) began to be celebrated by women
across Europe. But the two World Wars and many other factors resulted in the
dwindling of the holiday in later years. It was not until the 1960s, when
the feminist movement reared its head, that it gathered momentum again. In
1975, which had been designated as International Women's Year, the United
Nations gave official sanction to and began sponsoring International Women's
Today, International Women’s Day is observed every 8th March in many
prominent nations of the world. It is now an official holiday in Armenia,
Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia,
Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. In the
modern world, it is an occasion to recognize the achievements of women
around the world regardless of nationality, ethnic background, culture,
economic status or political beliefs.