International Women’s Day: Origin and importance

International Women’s Day: Origin and importance

Today, March 8, the International Women’s Day. But why does a day like this exist? What are we celebrating? To answer these questions, you need to go back in time a little.

happy woman's Day


Origin of Women’s Day

In Brazil, it is very common to associate Woman’s Day the fire on March 25, 1911 in New York, when 146 workers died, of whom 125 were women. This episode brought to light the poor conditions faced by women in the Industrial Revolution.

However, records prior to 1911 point to claims by women who contributed significantly to a moment being dedicated to their causes. Check out some of these important events:

Notable facts in the world

1857: 129 workers are locked and burned alive by the bosses inside a fabric factory in New York (USA). They demanded a reduction in working hours from 16 to 10 hours, equal pay, decent treatment in factories and the right to maternity leave.

1903: North American professionals, in union with the suffragettes, create an association whose main objective was to help female workers to demand better working conditions.

what is women's day

1908: In June, in London, thousands of women joined a demonstration in favor of economic and political equality in the country, Women’s Sunday, which includes a wide campaign to reduce working hours and improve working conditions. work conditions.

1909: In February of this year, also in New York City, about 15 thousand women take to the streets to demand better working conditions. They worked up to 16 hours a day, six days a week, almost always also on Sundays.

international women's day origin

1910: In Europe, Clara Zetkin, a professor, journalist and German Marxist politician, proposes at a meeting of the Second International Conference of Socialist Women the creation of a day when women from all over the world should come together to give voice to their struggles and demands.

women's day message

1911: Zetkin’s proposal, which included an annual day of demonstrations for equal rights, the right to vote and socialism, is approved and culminates on the first official day of the woman, celebrated, at first, on March 19, later being readjusted to March 8 – date that remains today.

1912: Textile workers in the North American city of Lawrence, Massachusetts, are on strike for better working conditions. The demonstrations last for three months and are suppressed with great violence by the authorities.
Women walk with the slogan “Bread and Roses”, where bread symbolizes economic stability and roses a better quality of life. The slogan is a reference to the poem written by James Oppenheim in 1911.
See the poem in free translation below:

Bread and Roses (James Oppenheim)

1917: This year in Russia, another milestone involving Women’s Day takes place. On March 8, a group of workers took to the streets to demonstrate against the First World War and the famine resulting from it. This demonstration is the kick-off of the Russian Revolution.

1975: International Women’s Day (March 8) is finally made official by the UN this year, which also wins the title of International Women’s Day by the same body. The goal is to remember the political and social achievements of women.

Importance of International Women’s Day

women's day quotes

Today the International Women’s Day it is not only a tribute date, but to be remembered as a milestone in the claim of gender equality and women’s rights, without forgetting its origin in the struggles of factory workers in the United States and in some European countries .

The meaning of a celebration like International Women’s Day is to bring to light the memory of a struggle so that tragedies – such as the death of workers who are victims of arson – will not be repeated.

Explains the master in Philosophy and Education, Dalva Aparecida Garcia.

In Brazil, the date is marked by protests in major cities, with demonstrations in defense of women’s rights and protests against the criminalization of abortion and against femicide, since the country has the fifth highest rate of femicide in the world.

In addition, violence against women, including threats, psychological torture, verbal abuse and physical and sexual violence still has disturbing numbers. According to the Brazilian Public Security Forum, in the last year, 536 women were victims of physical aggression every hour in Brazil.

Unfortunately, over time, the date gained a more commercial aspect, filling the florists and increasing the price of chocolate. Celebrating International Women’s Day goes beyond sending flowers and sweets. The idea is to conserve, reaffirm and promote achievements and rights.

At a time when statistics point to the growth of feminicide, when conservatism is based on nurturing conceptions that seemed outdated, it is more than necessary to make female voices echo with different chords.

Master Dalva Aparecida concludes.