8th March is International Women’s Day
Celebrated around the world every year on the 8th March is International Women’s Day (IWD). On this day women are recognised for their achievements. IWD began from labour movements at the beginning of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe.
Since those early days, IWD has grown in prominence and reach, touching women in every corner of the world. The growing international women’s movement has helped make IWD a central point for action. It builds support for women’s rights and their full involvement in the economy, politics, community and in everyday life.
History of International Women’s Day
In 1910, Clara Zetkin was the leader of the Women’s Office for the Socialist Democratic Party in Germany. She nominated the idea of an International Women’s Day at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. The proposal received unanimous support from over one hundred women representing 17 countries.
The following year on March 19th was the very first International Women’s Day. There were meetings and protests across Europe. The largest street demonstration attracted 30,000 women. Moved to March 8th in 1913, IWD has been on this day ever since.
International Women’s Day in Australia
IWD was first held in Australia in 1928 in Sydney. Organised by the Militant Women’s Movement, women called for equal pay for equal work. Also for an 8 hour working day for shop girls and paid leave. The next year the event spread to Brisbane. Launched in both Sydney and Melbourne in 1931, marches have continued annually.
International Women’s Day today
IWD has become a time to reflect on progress, to call for change and to celebrate the courage and determination of the women who changed history, and those who will advance gender equality into the future. IWD is also an occasion to review how far women have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development. It is also an opportunity to unite, network and mobilise for meaningful change.
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