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International Women's Day

March 8th is International Women’s Day (IWD). IWD highlights the ongoing struggle for equality and equal rights for women. March 8 became the official date to for International Women’s Day through a UN Resolution in 1977. However, the first celebration of the day occurred in 1909 and many nations had established March 8th as a national day to recognize IWD.

Here is a brief timeline of how we came to celebrate International Women’s Day.

1908 – 15,000 women march through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

1909 – On February 28, the first National Woman's Day (NWD) observed across the US, organized by The Socialist Party of America.

1909 to 1913 – NWD observed on the last Sunday of February.

1910 – An International Conference of Working Women convenes in Copenhagen. A resolution to establish an annual International Women's Day on the same day each year receives unanimous approval by of the over 100 women from 17 countries in attendance. It becomes a day of activism to press for demands

1911 – On March 19th Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland observe their first International Women's Day. More than 1 million women and men attend IWD rallies. IWD campaigns for women's rights to work and be trained, to vote, to hold public office and to end discrimination.

1911 – On March 25th, the 'Triangle Fire' in New York City takes the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. Attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women's Day events.

1913 – On the last Sunday in February 1913, Russian women observed their first International Women's Day.

1913 – March 8th becomes the global date for IWD.

1914 – Suffragettes rallies across Europe express women’s resistance to war. Police arrest British Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square. Germany dedicates the observance of the IWD to women's right to vote, which German women did not win until 1918.

1917 – On the last Sunday of February, Russian women strike for four "bread and peace" days in response to the death of over 2 million Russian soldiers in World War 1. Czar abdicates. Provisional Government grants women the right to vote. IWD becomes national working Russian holiday.

1922 – Communists in China celebrate IWD.

1936 – Spanish Communists recognize IWD.

1949 – The People's Republic of China proclaim March 8 as an official holiday with women in China given a half-day off.

1975 – The United Nations celebrate IWD.

1977 – UN General Assembly adopts resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

1996 – The UN sets an annual theme for each IWD.

2017 – Annual theme is Be Bold for Change.

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