Once a year, on March 8th, in numerous countries around the world, the focus is on women. On International Women's Day - including Women's Day - we give away flowers (especially roses) and small presents to mothers, partners, neighbors or colleagues to say thank you: Thank you, because you always have an open ear for your own problems; thank you because you are committed to a good cause and are always there when you need them.
International Women's Day: history and meaning
First and foremost, International Women's Day should remind that women are still disadvantaged in many areas of life today. Unequal wages, limited rights, lack of education or a ban on work (depending on the country) are just a few.
In 1910, Clara Zetkin and Käte Duncker, both German socialists, campaigned for the introduction of an international women's day at the 2nd International Socialist Conference after the first women's day in 1909 was a great success in the United States. Clara Zetkin in particular wanted to achieve equal opportunities and equal rights for women in working life, as well as nationwide voting and voting rights.
At the time, she told the women's magazine "Die Gleichheit" that they were "not special rights, but human rights". The first World Women's Day was then launched in 1911. It was first celebrated on March 19, 1911 in the countries of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Switzerland and Denmark with considerable success.
1914 to 1918: Women's Day as a sign against violence and war. During this period, as well as in the 40s, the focus of International Women's Day was on protests against violence and war. However, demands such as adequate child and mother protection, an 8-hour working day and the same salary for the same work were added in the following years. From 1933, female protests were banned during the Nazi regime. Mother's Day became more important and the role of mothers was highly praised.
1921: March 8 becomes a commemoration day. March 8 as a commemoration day was introduced in 1921, in particular to address the strikes of textile workers in 1857 (New York), 1908 (New York, Cotton factory, 129 women died in a fire) and 1917 (St Petersburg, trigger for the February Revolution in Russia).
Coloring page International Women's Day on March 8th
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Although the meaning of the day has changed over time, it has been officially considered a UN Memorial Day since 1977. Since then, other issues related to equality have been raised every year, such as “better education for women”.
The 60s / 70s until today: keyword equal opportunities. Today, numerous humanitarian and political organizations are signaling respect for every girl and woman and for equality. Lectures and celebrations as well as demonstrations for women's rights are held in many places. International Women's Day is now a public holiday in 25 countries. But it was a long way to get there.
It was only in the 60s and 70s that World Women’s Day was revived by a feminist movement: women took to the streets to demonstrate against violence and for equality in politics and on the job market. In 1994 the "Women's Strike Day" took place as part of the German World Women's Day. Over a million women gathered on the streets to demonstrate against discrimination. More than ever, the day once again symbolizes the struggle of women all over the world for their rights and honors their commitment to violence, war and discrimination.
"Equal opportunities" continues to play an important role in the 21st century. It is still important to reduce the existing pay differentials between women and men. Events take place in many cities every year on the occasion of International Women's Day.
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