Amazing Inspiring Stories of Women on International Women’s Day


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International Women’s Day – People around the world hold events, presentations, talks, marches, and other celebrations to reflect on the progress and achievements made by women. The first Women’s Day event took place in 1908, when garment workers marched in New York City in protest of working conditions.

What is International Women’s Day History Month?

From the first event in the United States over a hundred years ago, International Women’s Day has expanded to a global observance held annually on March 8 to commemorate and raise awareness of the movement for women’s rights.

The day became more widespread when the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day in 1975.

This year’s theme, “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030,” aims to build momentum for achieving gender equality, women’s empowerment, and women’s rights.

Elvish Yadav’s

Women Who Shattered Glass Ceilings in Their Fields

Leading German socialists Luise Zietz and Clara Zetkin proposed the creation of an annual International Woman’s Day as a means of advancing equal rights, including suffrage, for women at the International Women’s Conference, which took place in Copenhagen prior to the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in August 1910. The plan was unanimously approved by more than 100 female representatives from 17 different countries.

Chicago hosted the inaugural “Woman’s Day” event on May 3, 1908. A gathering of 1,500 women advocating for political and economic parity was arranged by the U.S. Socialist Party on a day formally devoted to “the female workers’ causes.” The next year, a similar festival was held in New York, when women came together. European socialists quickly emulated these American measures, having been inspired by them.

A seemingly harmless gesture signalled a dramatic departure from socialist convention. Socialists, despite their ideological commitment to human equality, have long maintained that women’s emancipation could only occur under socialism and that working-class women could only better their lot in life by uniting with working-class men in their battle.

Everyday Women Making a Difference

Feminism was seen as a cause for middle- and upper-class women with their own class interests in mind. Yet fearful that the feminist demand for female suffrage might attract too many working-class women, socialist leaders decided to embrace it. Still, they insisted that the vote was a means to an end, not an end in itself. 

On March 18, 1911, the fortieth anniversary of the Paris Commune, International Women’s Day was marked for the first time. More than a million Austrian, German, Swiss, Polish, Dutch, and Danish women took part in marches and meetings. The Austrian-Hungarian Empire alone witnessed more than 300 demonstrations.

In the following years, similar events spread across the European continent. Generally spearheaded by socialist women, demonstrations called for women’s rights and female suffrage, and many feminists readily joined their socialist sisters.

Stories of Resilience and Triumph

1914 halted much of the international collaboration that had underpinned International Women’s Day, and sowed deep divisions among socialist women. Some supported nationalist sentiments while others protested the war and called for working-class unity across national divides. Eventually many of these women, including Clara Zetkin, would abandon socialist parties who rallied around the war effort and instead embrace Communist parties and organizations. 

Yet, if International Women’s Day generally floundered during the war years, it was an International Women’s Day celebration that ultimately triggered the Russian Revolution. 

Russian women had first celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8 in 1913. Four years later, on March 8, 1917 (February 23 on the Gregorian calendar then used in Russia), working-class women in Saint Petersburg, exasperated by rising food prices and rapidly deteriorating living conditions, led a demonstration calling for an end to war and political autocracy. Once unleashed, their cries for “Bread and Peace’” could not.

The Power of Perseverance

The date of International Women’s Day was ultimately determined by the events that occurred in 1917 in Russia, as well as the rest of Europe.

Lenin made International Women’s Day a communist holiday in the newly formed Soviet Union in 1922. Chinese communists started celebrating it in the same year, and it was made an official holiday in 1949 with the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. On March 8, 1936, communists in Spain called for the defence of the Spanish Republic from the fascist menace, staging a massive protest in Madrid.

International Women’s Day would remain a communist holiday until the end of the 20th century, marked by carefully orchestrated, state-sponsored celebrations of women’s contributions to the state.   

As women in the United States and across much of Europe gained suffrage in the wake of the First World War, much of the momentum for International Women’s Day celebrations waned. During the interwar years, some European socialists and social democrats continued to mark “Women’s Day,” carefully omitting the term “international” to distinguish it from its communist sister celebration, but events rarely drew substantial crowds.

Women Fighting for Equality and Justice

It was only with the emergence of second-wave feminism in the late 1960s, that International Women’s Day reemerged as a significant day of activism. Though the day never (re)captured much attention among American feminists, European feminists embraced March 8 under the updated name, Women’s International Day of Struggle (“Frauenkampftag” in German or “Kvindenes international kampdag” in Danish).

The new name signaled political radicalism and a resolute distance from organized party politics, both key features of the women’s movement in the 1970s and 1980s. Nonetheless, March 8 celebrations typically involved not only feminists, but a broad assortment of left-wing activists, women’s groups and labor organizations, calling for such issues as equal pay, political parity, reproductive rights and child care. 

During the International Women’s Year in 1975, the United Nations first celebrated International Women’s Day. Two years later, in 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

International Women's Day

She Believed, So She Could

The assembly stated that this new holiday was to be marked “on any day of the year by member states, in accordance with their historical and national traditions,” in an attempt to separate it from the socialist roots of International Women’s Day.

Furthermore, the United Nations characterised it as “a time to reflect on progress made” and “celebrate acts of courage and determination of ordinary women,” in contrast to modern feminist activities that portray it as a day of protest.

The United Nations has actually observed International Women’s Day on March 8 every year since the 1977 resolution, with events and activities centred around a specific theme like “Empower Rural Women—End Hunger and Poverty” (2012) and “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It!” (2015).


In spite of such institutionalization of International Women’s Day, and in following its long history of competing traditions, March 8 is now marked in a variety of ways around the world.

In many (former) Communist regions, it is a public holiday. In Western Europe, it remains an occasion for feminist demonstrations, and in many developing countries women’s rights activists take to the streets to voice their calls for gender equality. In Italy, men allegedly give yellow mimosas to women to celebrate the day. In the United States,

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