History of Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world.
It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.
Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike.
The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.
We invite you to learn about the history of women’s rights and the UN’s contribution to the cause.
First key years of the movement
Officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977, International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe:
Movement in the United States
The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on 28 February. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.
But the first milestone in US was much earlier – in 1848. Indignant over women being barred from speaking at an anti-slavery convention, Americans Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott congregate a few hundred people at their nation’s first women’s rights convention in New York.
Together they demand civil, social, political and religious rights for women in a Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. A movement is born.
Did you know?
- The fact that Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th is strongly linked to the women’s movements during the Russian Revolution (1917).
- New Zealand was the first self-governing nation to allow women to vote.
- In the first known campaign of its kind, the Egyptian Society of Physicians went against tradition by declaring the negative effects of female genital mutilation. This was in 1920.
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