While it may not be a public holiday in Ireland (yet?), International Women’s Day festivities are increasing yearly, as the day becomes a more universally recognised holiday rather than solely a part of socialist, or Eastern European culture. It’s come to be a global recognition of women’s successes and a declaration of women’s empowerment. Women supporting women, and men appreciating women. Learning about other cultures is always interesting and we feel it’s important to understand the history of how this wonderful day of commemoration has come about and how it originated before merging into our modern, commercialised world. We’ve outlined below how it all began, and how far it’s come.
The details of the origins of when International Women’s Day first started to snowball are a little muddy, with many people having different opinions, but it’s commonly thought that what started this public display of girl power was the socialist women’s movement in the early 20th century. One particular day that’s been said to spur it all into action was in February 1908, New York City, when women in a textile company had been subjected to hard labour in poor conditions for barely any pay, flooded the streets in protest of their unfair mistreatment. The first National Women’s Day was then celebrated a year later in 1909 when women commemorated what happened that day.
A year later in Copenhagen, at the International Socialist Women’s Meeting, the first whispers of creating an International Women’s Day were mentioned, by renowned German women’s rights activist; Luise Zietz. Her proposal was taken on and International Women’s Day was decided to take place on March 19th and was first celebrated in 1911. Countries such as Austria, Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland took part and over 1 million people rallied for women’s rights on that day.
It’s interesting to note, it began as a passionate fight for women’s rights and now it’s reminiscent of that time but it’s also clear to see how far we have come. As well as it being still a day to fight for equality, it has also become a commemoration of our success and an appreciation for women in our lives.
Official Declaration of International Women’s Day- 8th March.
The reason the date moved to 8th March was in fact due to Lenin. (Lenin was a communist political leader in Russia). Women in Russia took to protesting in Petrograd on March 8th, 1917, they protested in honour of women’s day and so Lenin followed by declaring the 8th of March as an official communist holiday in 1922. And so finally, a date stuck, and so began the yearly celebrations, predominantly by socialist cultures until the late 1960s, when others then began to join in on the celebration of women empowerment.
Come 1975 and the United Nations began commemorating the day as International Women’s Day and announced that year as International Women’s Year. They followed through with hosting conferences for the next decade, where they honoured women and their success and fought the fight for women’s rights. These events aided largely to getting women to where we are today and led to the worldwide recognition of International Women’s Day.
Today IWD is a public holiday in most Eastern European countries, where it’s seen as a day of celebration and appreciation for women, and the men of these countries wouldn’t dare to not offer gifts of flowers and more to the women in their life- mothers wives and children. While in Ireland, the UK and US, the holiday wouldn’t be acclaimed on the same level, or in the same way, it’s still celebrated and there are often political movements and women’s rights events on March 8th. It’s seeping into our culture more and more each year and we love to see the expressions of love and support of women.
The UN has announced this year’s International Women’s Day theme as #eachforequal. To quote this year’s message-
“An equal world is an enabled world. How will you help forge a gender equal world? Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.”
Celebrate International Women’s Day this year and show the ladies in your life that you appreciate them with a bouquet from us at Madflowers.