Celebrating International Women’s Day
This morning’s Australian Radio National program included a feature on International Women’s Day (March 8). I found some of the history fascinating.
The earliest Women’s Day observance was in February 1909 in New York, It was organised by the Socialist Party of America, and was in remembrance of the 1908 strike by the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union.
Over the next years, women’s days were observed in many countries, including Austria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland Spain and China.
One such observance in Russia led to their revolution. In 1917, demonstrations marking International Women’s Day in Saint Petersburg on the last Thursday in February (which fell on March 8 on the Gregorian calendar) initiated the February Revolution.
Women in Saint Petersburg went on strike that day for ‘Bread and Peace’. They demanded an end to World War I, as well as an end to Russian food shortages and czarism.
Leon Trotsky wrote, ‘23 February (8th March) was International Woman’s Day and meetings and actions were foreseen. But we did not imagine that this “Women’s Day” would inaugurate the revolution. Revolutionary actions were foreseen but without date. But in morning, despite the orders to the contrary, textile workers left their work in several factories and sent delegates to ask for support of the strike… which led to mass strike… all went out into the streets.’
The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day in the International Women’s Year, 1975. Two years later, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.
To mark this day—which has the theme of ‘Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030’—I’m sharing photos that I have taken of women at work in some of the countries places I’ve visited. Most of the photos show women doing traditional jobs.
Next year, on this anniversary, I’ll add photos of women from my travels in Africa. Oh, and in the interest of equal opportunity, I’ll post still more photos and commentary on 19 November to observe International Men’s Day.
P.S. Finishing off this post with a pic of my dear cousin, Jo, who is an amazing cook and a cherished member of my extended family.