International Women's Day, formalized by the United Nations in 1977, not only reminds us about the victories of women, but also invites us to reflect upon the role and status of women in the world at large. In one century women have achieved legal and legislative equality in most countries of the world. However, equality in actual fact remains a goal that has yet to be achieved.
Just like other symbolic dates, International Women's Day came about due to several historical occurrences. It is the symbolic culmination of both the long public struggle for women's rights and the more private struggle waged everyday by women that have made the celebration of this day possible.
The main historical reference of International Women's Day is based on the strikes that were made by American female workers in 1857 and in 1911 in New York City. These strikes were a protest by the female workers against the miserable working conditions they were forced to endure. One event was particularly significant to these demonstrations. On March 25th 1911, a group of female workers, who were demonstrating in a textile factory in New York, died as a result of a fire. These women were not able to escape from the fire because the doors of the factory were locked. The doors had been locked in order to ensure that the workers would not leave before the end of the workday.
Another important historical reference is the Second International Conference of socialist women, which took place in 1910 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Here, the German socialist leader, Clara Zetkin, proposed to create an international day for women, so as to recognize the struggle undertaken by women worldwide. In 1977, two years after the International Women's Year, The United Nations adopted a resolution inviting Member States to observe a day for the celebration of the rights of women and international peace. Consequently, March 8th has become a day of recognition of the rights of women in many countries in the World.
SONG: WOMAN by John Lennon
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