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Why do we commemorate Women's Day?

Behind the date there is a long fight for women worker's rights
Why do we celebrate women's day?
Opinion: El Apunte
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Text: Cynthia Villalón

Each year we commemorate the International Women's Day on March 8th, however, far from being a joyous celebration, the reason behind this day is the tragedy in the textile industry which brought the review of labor rights for women.

In 1909 the United States of America observed the National Woman's Day for the first time after a strike which took place the previous year in which women protested against working conditions. A year later, Copenhagen established a Women's Day to honor the movements of women's rights.

Years later, on March 25, 1911, a tragedy struck the textile industry: a terrible fire that consumed the factory Triangle Shirtwaist in New York. In just under 20 minutes, the whole building was reduced to ashes with 146 people inside, most of whom were women from the European and Jewish immigrant communities.

Although the origin of the fire was never determined, it did expose the poor conditions these young women were working in and that the facilities had no emergency exits. Only one year prior, women working in the industry had organized a strike demanding a pay rise. Today,  Along Green Street there are plaques commemorating the event and the victims.


The members of the United Nations finally decided in 1975 to appoint a day dedicated to women and March 8 became the international day to remember women's rights and their participation in politics, economy, and in the social and cultural structures of all nations.

The UN states the objective behind international days is to “promote international awareness and action" which reminds us there is still a lot to do regarding women's rights



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