the largest union of women in
the Hospital Employees’
sisters and brothers at home and around the world as we celebrate International
Women’s Day (IWD) on Sunday, March 8.
year marks the 100 anniversary of IWD. It’s come a long way since its
beginnings in 1909. Fast forward to 1975 on the timeline, and that’s the year
the United Nations declared International Women’s Day to be a global event.
Now, each year, March 8 is when we in
in more than 50 countries around the world, recognize women’s achievements,
struggles and worth.
is a brief chronology of a few significant points in the herstory of
International Women’s Day, with thanks to the United Nations, and a nod to
Status of Women Canada, for the information.
accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first
National Woman's Day was observed across the
Socialist International, meeting in
established a Women’s Day, international in character, to honour the movement
for women’s rights and to assist in achieving universal suffrage for women. The
proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by the conference of over 100
women from 17 countries, which included the first three women elected to the
Finnish parliament. No fixed date was selected for the observance.
a result of the decision taken at Copenhagen the previous year, International
Women’s Day was marked for the first time (March 19) in Austria, Denmark,
Germany and Switzerland, where more than one million women and men attended rallies.
Less than a week later, on March 25, the tragic Triangle Fire in
lives of more than 140 working girls, most of them Italian and Jewish
immigrants. This event had a significant impact on labour legislation in the
and the working conditions leading up to the disaster were invoked during
subsequent observances of International Women’s Day.
part of the peace movement brewing on the eve of World War I, Russian women
observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February
1913. Elsewhere in
of the following year, women held rallies either to protest the war or to
express solidarity with their sisters.
two million Russian soldiers dead in the war, Russian women again chose the
last Sunday in February to strike for “bread and peace”. Political leaders
opposed the timing of the strike, but the women went on anyway. The rest is
history: four days later, the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional government
granted women the right to vote. That historic Sunday fell on February 23 on
the Julian calendar then in use in
Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere.
Charter of the United Nations, signed
in 1945, was the first international agreement to proclaim gender equality as a
fundamental human right.
1975, during the International Year of Women, the United Nations began
celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8.
December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United
Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any
day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and
adopting its resolution, the General Assembly recognized the role of women in
peace efforts and development, and urged an end to discrimination and an
increase of support for women’s full and equal participation.
a Member State, Canada followed the United Nations’ lead, and chose March 8 as
International Women’s Day.
theme from the United Nations for International Women’s Day this year is “Women
and men united to end violence against women and girls”.
For more information on IWD, visit the UN’s website <www.un.org/events/women/iwd/2009>.