Why do we commemorate International Women's Day?

For years, women all over the world have fought for equality and civil rights

Why do we commemorate International Women's Day?
The reason behind this day is the tragedy in the textile industry which brought the review of labor rights for women - Photo: Featured photography
English 08/03/2018 12:26 Mexico City Cynthia Villalón Actualizada 12:43
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Every year, we commemorate International Women's Day on March 8, however, far from being a joyous celebration, the reason behind this day is the tragedy in the textile industry which brought the review of the labor rights of women.

In 1909 the U.S. observed 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.

German activist Clara Zetkin and the International Socialist Congress agreed to create an international version of the U.S. holiday on March 19, 1911, the first IWD was held in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. 

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Moreover, 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.


On March 8, 1917, women in Petrograd, Russia, protested against food shortages, poor living conditions, and World War I. This strike for “bread and peace” sparked the Russian Revolution of 1917, which led to the abdication of Nicholas II.

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In 1921 the date of the IWD was officially changed to March 8.

In 1975, the UN officially named March 8 as an international date to remember women's rights and their participation in politics, economy, and arts, and society.

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

Nowadays, women stage protests all over the world and demand equality, justice, reproductive rights, and the eradication of gender-based violence

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