The impetus for establishing an International Women’s Day can be traced back to New York City in February 1908, when thousands of women who were garment workers went on strike and marched through the city to protest against their working conditions. “Like today, these women were in less organized workplaces [than their male counterparts], were in the lower echelons of the garment industry, and were working at low wages and experiencing sexual harassment,” says Eileen Boris, Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. In honor of the anniversary of those strikes, which were ongoing for more than a year, a National Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in the U.S. on Feb. 28, 1909, spearheaded by the Socialist Party of America. Led by German campaigner and socialist Clara Zetkin, the idea to turn the day into an international movement advocating universal suffrage was established at the International Conference of Working Women in 1910. Zetkin was renowned as a passionate orator and advocate for working women’s rights, and her efforts were crucial to the day’s recognition throughout much of Europe in the early 1910s.
However, the celebration of International Women’s Day itself did not hold as much weight in the U.S. through the 20th century as it did in other countries, largely due to its political associations with the Soviet Union and socialism amid increasing Cold War tensions. The fact that an official U.N. day observance was only established in 1975 underlines this point, and may go some way to explaining why the day still isn’t as widely recognized in the U.S. today as it is elsewhere, though it is no coincidence that March is the nation’s Women’s History Month.
Women's History Month is the celebration of the achievements of womankind from rulers and warriors to sports women and innovators; and from writers and artists to heroines and revolutionaries.
International Women’s day which is March 8th will be celebrated with this year’s theme #ChooseToChallenge. This day and theme means a lot to me as I am a sister between my two brothers and my parents never differentiated me from them. Originally from India, there are still certain mindset about woman. In India, women’s status has traditionally been second to men’s. But this was not the mentally I was raised with and received an equal opportunity as my brothers for schooling, sports, community events or anything I wished to do. I still remember that certain games which boys only played in India, like cricket, I use to play with my brothers and their friends. My family always supported and uplifted me to bring the best out of me. I have always been inspired by successful women who has touched the heart of girls like me inspiring to be your best and to never doubt yourself even in the toughest times in the life. One of my favorite inspirational quote from our former first lady Michelle Obama -“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”
We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
From challenge comes change, so let's all Choose to Challenge. So, hand up high to show you're in!