Celebrating Women’s Day: Understanding its Significance

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March 10, 2024

Celebrating Women’s Day: Understanding its Significance


  • International Women’s Day, observed annually on March 8, is a pivotal moment dedicated to honoring the achievements and contributions of women worldwide. However, its origins trace back to the early 20th century, rooted in the fervent activism of socialist movements advocating for women’s rights and improved working conditions.

The Origins:

  • The genesis of Women’s Day can be traced back to the United States, where the first National Woman’s Day was observed on February 28, 1909. This date commemorated the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, highlighting the plight of women who protested against unjust working conditions. Spearheaded by the Socialist Party of America, this movement gained momentum, with around 15,000 women marching for fundamental rights such as shorter work hours, better pay, and voting rights.

Early Feminist Movements:

  • The emergence of Women’s Day coincided with the First Wave of Feminism, characterized by a surge in activism for women’s suffrage and equality. Figures like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott in the United States and socialist feminist movements in Europe laid the groundwork for future advancements. Stanton’s impassioned speech in 1892 underscored the necessity of equal opportunities for women in education and life’s endeavors.

Global Advocacy:

  • In 1910, the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, led by Clara Zetkin, proposed the idea of an International Women’s Day. This proposal garnered widespread support, leading to the inaugural celebration in 1911, with over one million men and women advocating for women’s rights across Europe. The momentum continued to build, prompting the adoption of March 8 as the official date for International Women’s Day.

March 8: A Symbol of Resistance:

  • The significance of March 8 gained prominence during the Russian Revolution in 1917 when Russian women staged protests against the monarchy and food shortages. Despite initial resistance from male revolutionaries, these demonstrations on International Women’s Day catalyzed broader societal change, eventually leading to the establishment of a communist state and women’s suffrage in Russia.

Global Recognition:

  • Over the years, March 8 has evolved into a global symbol of solidarity and empowerment for women. Recognizing its historical significance, the United Nations officially designated March 8 as International Women’s Day in 1975, with subsequent acknowledgment from countries worldwide.

Continued Advocacy:

  • Even in the 21st century, Women’s Day remains a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle for gender equality. Initiatives like Women’s History Month in the United States underscore the importance of commemorating women’s achievements and addressing the persisting disparities.


  • In essence, International Women’s Day serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit and resilience of women throughout history. By honoring their past struggles and celebrating their triumphs, we reaffirm our commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive world for future generations.

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Celebrating Women’s Day: Understanding its Significance | Vaid ICS Institute