Marked on the 8th of March every year, the International women’s Day is an iconic marker of equality and gender parity. So on this occasion, let us have a look at the 7 facts you should know about International Women’s Day.
What we now know as the International Women’s day, once started as a march for equality. 15,000 women marched down the streets of New York, back in 1908, demanding voting rights, better remuneration and shorter working hours. This is considered as the first step towards what eventually became an iconic feminist movement.
Yes, the color purple. It is the official color for symbolizing women around the world. In history, it started with the Women’s Social and Political Union from the United Kingdom, in 1908. Back then the symbolism was a combination of Purple (for justice and dignity), Green (for hope), and White (for purity).
Over time, this symbolic representation matured into the color Purple.
The Copenhagen Call
The idea for an International Women’s day was first voiced on the Second International Conference for Working Women, held in 1910 in Copenhagen. Proposed by German political leader Clara Zetkins, the concept was for women to globally unite and push for their demands. This proposal was unanimously approved by over 100 women, representing 17 different countries.
Many Dates One Motive
While the date originally decided in the Copenhagen conference was 19 March, the first National Women’s Day was already marked by the USA on 28 February 1909. This continued in America until 1913. The first International Women’s Day was celebrated on 19 March 1911, by Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.
Later discussions shifted the day to 8th March in 1913, and it hasn’t been changed since then.
A Rich History
An image of the 1917 protests in Russia. Image courtesy: Wikipedia
In 1913, there were discussions that led to the transfer of the date from February to the 8th of March. A little later in 1914, hundreds of women marched down to Trafalgar Square on 8 March, to campaign against World War 1.
On the other side, in Russia, a protest sparked on 8 March 1917, against the War, eventually leading to the abdication of the ruling Czar and women being granted voting rights in Russia. All starting on this date.
UN and The Themes
Image courtesy: UN News
Seeing the beauty and effectiveness of this movement, the United Nations started marking annual themes for it in 1996. The first theme for International Women’s Day was- ‘Celebrating the past, planning for the future’ in 1996. In the coming years, the themes were Women at The Peace Table (1997), Women and Human Rights (1998), World Free of Violence Against Women (1999).
For this year, 2020, the theme stands #EachforEqual. These themes are the markers of issues that need to be addressed on the road to equality for all.
Wrapping up on this piece, it is a must for us to acknowledge equality, not as a goal to be achieved, but a balance to be made and sustained. We may have an increasing presence of women in important places, positions of power, but we deal with a greater evil every day.
Here, we still witness a preference to sons, partiality in treatment of the girl child in the families, and judgment from the society are still at large. It leads to the hampering of the official rights of a woman in the name of culture, traditions and so forth. As of today, it is now time that we stop looking at what is officially there, and start looking at ourselves.
Now, is the time to look at your own family, friends, and those you know. About now is high time we start applying equality to our very households and let go of the stereotypes that say otherwise. Now, in the end, the world is made of individuals, people. Yes, it is time that the individual looks at equality. As the theme says, #EachforEqual.
Sources: 1, 2