International Women’s Day was born out of the struggle for women’s rights, which began in the early 20th century. It was a response to the fact that even though some women had made great strides, there was still a long way to go until equality between men and women could be achieved. The day aims to celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness of ongoing challenges.
International Women’s Day has been celebrated in Austria, Denmark and Germany since 1911. Still, it wasn’t until 1975 that it became an official UN holiday.
The first International Women’s Day was held on 19 March 1908. More than 100 years ago, thousands of women marched through New York City demanding better pay and working conditions for female garment workers. In 1910, the Socialist Party of America designated this day as International Woman’s Day in honour of this event.
Victories over the years
The women’s rights movement has had its fair share of victories over the years, with women winning voting rights in New Zealand in 1893 and Australia in 1902. In 1918, Finland became the first country to give women full political rights. However, it wasn’t until 1928 that American women were allowed to vote after a constitutional amendment was passed.
In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It proclaimed that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. This declaration has been used as a foundation for many of the laws that protect human rights around the world today. In 1972, Canada became one of the first countries to adopt an equal pay law for men and women. And in 1980, Iceland elected Vigdis Finnbogadottir as its president, making her the first female president in the world.
There is still work to be done
As we celebrate International Women’s Day this year and reflect on our achievements so far, let us take a moment to remember that there is always room for improvement when it comes to human rights issues across the globe.