Know the origin and history of International Women's Day

Today, as you know, International Women's Day is celebrated, and as you may also know, the date marks the battle of women for equal rights, against discrimination and recognition of their value and achievements. But do you know the roots of this long struggle?

The origins

The inspiration for International Women's Day came before World War I, when, in 1909, the first Women's Day was celebrated in the USA on February 28th. The commemoration was proposed by the American Socialist Party, and the idea was to mark a strike a year earlier that brought together 15, 000 workers who protested the streets of New York for better wages and working conditions.

Women participating in protests in New York

It was not long before Europe saw the American example, and during the Second International Conference of Working Women, held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1910, German socialists Luise Zietz and Clara Zetkin proposed the creation of International Women's Day.

Clara Zetkin

The conference brought together representatives of trade unions, socialist parties and working groups from 17 countries and was attended by the first three women elected to the (Finnish) parliament. The proposal for the creation of International Women's Day was unanimously approved, and the first celebrations took place in Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Germany in 1911.

Russia joined the celebration in 1913, the year March 8 was set as the official date for International Women's Day, and the following year a women's march took place in London in support of the suffragettes. Then, from 1914, when World War I broke out, Women's Day celebration became a protest mechanism against the conflict.

Wins and losses

In 1917, led by feminist Alexandra Kollontai, the Russian women began a huge demonstration known as “Bread and Peace” on March 8. The protests were intended to draw attention to the deaths of Russian soldiers and the dire condition in which the population of Russia lived. The initiative was a tremendous success, as four days later the tsar abdicated and the provisional government granted women the right to vote.

Alexandra Kollontai

Then, a few decades later, World War II came and, once again, the commemorative date was again used as a mechanism to oppose the conflict, especially against fascism. Thus, March 8 was used by the women of the Allied nations to protest against the Axis countries and, of course, against Adolf Hitler.

Demonstrations in Russia culminating in Tsar's abdication

At the end of the war, however, International Women's Day was celebrated mainly by the communist nations and the Soviet Union - so much so that in 1965 the date was defined as a national holiday in recognition of the contribution, patriotism and bravery of the Soviets. On the other hand, because of the celebration's links with communism and socialism, the festivities have become quite frowned upon by the American population.

Reconquests and more battles

Here in Brazil, initiatives for women's rights originated in the early 20th century, and were proposed by anarchist groups of the time. Between the 1920s and 1930s, the movements gained strength thanks to the struggle of the suffragists - who won the right to vote in 1932 - and it was from the 1970s that the first organizations focused on the discussion of gender equality, sexuality and health. of women began to emerge in the country.

Suffragists in Brazil

It was also in the 1970s, more precisely in 1975, during the "International Year of Women", that the United Nations began to celebrate International Women's Day annually on March 8. Since then, not only the UN, but many other countries around the world have joined the celebration, and today the date is celebrated in over 100 countries. In fact, it is true that women have achieved a lot over the years, but the battle is far from over.

The fight is far from over

To give you an idea, a woman is murdered by her mate - or ex - every 10 minutes, and one in three has experienced some form of sexual assault. Here in Brazil, 13 women are killed every day.

In addition, there are still countries that do not have specific laws to combat violence against women, where girls do not have access to education, that prohibit married women from having passports, opening their own businesses and even signing employment contracts without permission. of the husband.

The battle for equal rights continues

What's more, it may seem unbelievable, but in a world where about half of the world's population is made up of women, it will have to be 169 years before gender equality is achieved. One hundred and sixty-nine years until women of equal competence can receive salaries similar to those of their fellow men! There is no doubt that there are still many - many! - battles to be won?


And if you need a little inspiration to join this fight, be sure to check out the playlist that our team here at Mega Curioso prepared on Spotify: