International Women's Day 2021

NAME OF FEATURE | THE GLEANER | MONDAY, MARCH 8, 2021 14 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY Y OU MIGHT have seen International Women’s Day mentioned in the media or heard friends talking about it. But what is it for? When is it? Is it a cele- bration or a protest? Is there an equivalent International Men’s Day? And what virtual events will take place this year? For more than a century, people around the world have been marking March 8 as a special day for women. Read on to find out why. 1. How did it start? International Women’s Day, also known as IWD for short, grew out of the labour movement to become a recognised annual event by the United Nations (UN). The seeds of it were planted in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay, and the right to vote. It was the Socialist Party of America that declared the first National Woman’s Day a year later. The idea of making the day international came from a woman called Clara Zetkin. She suggested the idea in 1910 at an International Conference ofWorkingWomen in Copenhagen. There were 100 women there, from 17 countries, and they agreed unani- mously with her suggestion. It was first celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. The centenary was celebrated in 2011, so this year, we are, technically, celebrating the 110th International Women’s Day. Things were made official in 1975 when the United Nations started celebrating the day. The first theme adopted by the UN (in 1996) was “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future”. International Women’s Day has become a date to celebrate how far women have come in society, in politics, and in econom- ics, while the political roots of the day means that strikes and protests are organised to raise awareness of continued inequality. 2. When is IWD? It is on March 8. Zetkin’s idea for an International Women’s Day had no fixed date. It was not formalised until a war-time strike in 1917 when Russian women de- manded “bread and peace”, and four days into the women’s strike, the Tsar was forced #ChooseToChallenge IWD 2021 #ChooseToChallenge IWD 2021 #ChooseToChallenge IWD 2021 History, marches and celebrations PLEASE SEE MARCHES , 29