International Women’s Day : Why on March 8 Its Celebrated
This historical day celebrates the achievements of women all across the world.
International Women’s Day is dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements in the social, economic, cultural, and political spheres. The day, collectively founded by women, also brings attention to gender parity and women’s rights.
Gender parity is a statistical measure that compares women and men through their income, education, and work hours, among other points. This sociological metric helps researchers understand how society is progressing or regressing in specific areas. It’s also an important tool for policymakers striving towards gender equality.
International Women’s Day has a rich history dating back 108 years — the first glimpse of it was in 1909 when the Socialist Party of America celebrated 15,000 women who protested long work hours, low pay, and the lack of voting rights in New York City.
Originally called National Women’s Day, the monumental annual celebration spread across the world (officially celebrated in 1911), but it was Russia who unknowingly set the March 8 trend. Although International Women’s Day became an official holiday in Russia in 1913, women still experienced difficulties caused by WWI. While men were off at war, women dealt with food shortages and a government who wouldn’t listen to them.
On March 8, 1917 (February 23 in the former Russian calendar), tens of thousands of Russian women took to the streets demanding change. The unified cry for help paved the way for Russian women to be granted voting rights soon after.
“I think it’s really interesting that all over the world, people observe this day that actually originated in the U.S.,” says Ruthchild, “but the U.S. doesn’t observe it to the same degree.”