How did International Women’s Day begin [2015-03-06]


In New York Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton declared the Convention for Women’s Rights where they urged women be given the freedom of speech, the right to vote, and equal rights in labour, property ownership and education.


British women joined the struggle for suffrage.


A new wave suffrage movement emerged when an amendment to the 15th Constitution of the United States confirmed the right of black men to vote yet still did not allow women the right to vote. Suffrage became not just the concern of middle-class women. It united the efforts of young, radical and working-class women. Marches and pickets were organized, hunger strikes were announced, and the White House was encircled by a “live chain”.


The first women’s organization was founded in Vilnius – “The Lithuanian Women’s Alliance in Defence of Women’s Rights”.


National Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in America.


By the initiative of Clara Zetkin in Copenhagen, at the 2nd Conference of the Internationale, it was decided to mark International Women’s Day. One hundred of the gathered women voten in favour of this motion, representing 17 nations. In her speech, Clara Zetkin stressed that this was a significant political victory for women, which was why it was important to make it a world-wide event to be marked every year.


International Women’s Day was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19 (recalling the Prussian uprising in 1848 when the king promised numerous reforms, including voting rights for women).


International Women’s Day started being celebrated on March 8. Both in Europe and in America this day was chosen in order to consolidate women from all layers in society in the fight for voting rights.


International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in Lithuania.

The struggle for suffrage bore fruit. Voting rights were granted to women as follows:

1906 – Finland; 1915 - Denmark; 1918 – Austria, Estonia, Poland, England, Canada; 1919Lithuania, Luxembourg, Sweden; 1944 – Bulgaria, France; 1971 – Switzerland.


International Women’s Day takes on a feminist nature. It becomes a public tribune for speaking out on problems affecting women.


In Syndey on International Women’s Day a commission was formed which received declarations from 1,038 women about cases of sexism in the workplace, inequal salaries, and violence in the home. Their testimonies helped reveal the scale of discrimination and violence against women and encouraged the formation of consciousness-awareness groups.


This year was declared the International Year of Women. The main idea behind this year, as expressed by its initiators, was to draw attention to the fact that:

  • Women indeed do exist (at least for this year)

  • Women do not enjoy all of human rights (just imagine whether the International Year of Men could occur)

  • Women are still struggling for survival (Do you feel safe coming home at night?)

Source: Centre for Equality Advancement, 

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