International Women's Day
International Women’s Day timeline journey
1. 1907 The Early Beginnings
A common version of the beginning of International Women’s Day starts in 1907, with a march of textile women workers in New York. Amidst public discussion about the conditions of textile workers and women’s campaign for suffrage, about 15,000 women working in needle and textile industries marched through New York City. However, in her book On the Socialist Origins of International Women’s Day, Temma Kaplan (1985) argues that these demonstrations might not have actually taken place and that their myth was created during the Cold War to displace the socialist roots of International Women’s Day.
2. 1909 The First National Woman’s Day in the US
The first national Woman’s Day note the singular “woman” was held across the United States on February 28, 1909. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions. It is true that a woman’s duty is centered in her home and motherhood but home should mean the whole country and not be confined to three or four rooms of a city or a state.
3. 1910 The Second International Conference of Women
The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women’s Day, international in character, to honour the movement for women’s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women. Preceding the general meeting of the Second International, the Second International Conference of Women was held in Copenhagen and attended by about 100 women from 17 countries, who represented unions, socialist parties, and working women’s clubs. It also included the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament. A woman named Clara Zetkin tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day.
4. 1911 Early International Woman’s Day in the US and Europe
International Woman’s Day was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. In the United States, the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911 took the lives of more than 140 workers, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrant women.
5. 1912 Bread and roses
Continuing the call for better and safer working conditions and higher wages was the Lawrence Textile strike, which was the immediate response to the lowering of workers’ wages and largely led by immigrant women workers.