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International Women's Day and Women's History Month - Feminist Movement

Updated on September 17, 2012
Lily Rose profile image

Punctuation & grammar, when wrong, are huge pet peeves of mine. I enjoy sharing my knowledge on this and a number of other topics.

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th each year.  International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month (March) is a time to increase consciousness and knowledge of women’s history – to take time to remember the contributions of both ordinary and notable women and how “she” affected our history.

International Womens Day
International Womens Day

International Women's Day History

February 28, 1909 was the first day that International Women’s Day was celebrated in the United States.  It was declared by the Socialist Party of America.  The idea was first put forth at the turn of the century (20th) when there was rapid industrialization and expansion of the economy worldwide, which led to protests about working conditions.

Urban legend states that women from clothing and textile factories in New York City protested about very poor working conditions and low wages on March 8, 1857.  The protesters were dispersed and attacked by police.  These women, in the same month two years later, established their first labor union.

More protests followed in subsequent years, all on March 8th.  In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding better pay, voting rights and shorter working hours.

Protests and demonstrations began all over the world.  International Women’s Day demonstrations in Russia proved to be the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917.  In the West, International Women’s Day was commemorated in the 1910s and 1920s, then began to dwindle, but was revived again with the rise in the 1960s of feminism. 

March is Women's History Month
March is Women's History Month

A History of Women's History Month

In the early 1900s, women’s rights was a hot topic and many women’s organizations made winning the vote a top priority. The economic depression of the 1930s, and then WWII, sort of put women’s rights on the back burner. Then, in the 1950s and 1960s, the middle-class housewife began tiring of giving up professional and intellectual aspirations and so the revival of the women’s liberation. Thus the popularity began of women’s issues and history.

Many felt that what was taught in school about women’s history was not sufficient. In the United States, there was a focus on black and Native Americans which overshadowed discussions of women’s history. So universities, in the 1970s, began including women’s studies into the curriculum

In 1978, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women (in California) began “Women’s History Week.” People responded positively to it and more schools began to host their own Women’s History Week programs. Many groups agreed to support an attempt to have Congress declare a national Women’s History Week and they were successful three years later. Senator Orin Hatch was one of the co-sponsors of the resolution.

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      Alice 8 years ago

      FYI here is a little about how, over the decades, International Women's Day has changed it's view of "who" is oppressing women:

      International Women’s Day was created in 1910 to promote socialist political objectives and was always referred to by the Communist name ‘International Working Women’s Day’. It was restricted primarily to the Soviet bloc. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the word ‘working’ was largely dropped along with it’s socialist meaning. Beginning in the 1970’s IWD became a vehicle for feminist concerns. Whereas IWWD was previously used to highlight women’s oppression by a class of bourgeois upper class men and women, 1970s feminists changed the basis of the day by stating that men as a class of “chauvinists” completely controlled women who were each and all men’s victims. Women were no longer viewed as part of the bourgeois upper class. One can say that in the 1970s IWD became a brand new IWD with males -all males- for the first time being promoted as the single enemy. But even with this new ideological basis IWD limped along as a fairly insignificant world event until 1980s when “Patriarchy Theory” was elaborated as the brand new theory and also new basis for the need to observe IWD. It was in the 1980s that women began to celebrate IWD in vast numbers (mostly out of a new concern that men were out to oppress them) and on this basis the event has continued to grow primarily in terms of a gender war, the principle being that men alone as a privileged class hurt women alone as the oppressed class. International Men’s Day has a completely different reason for coming into being. Although IMD objectives occasionally intersect with those of IWD, such as advocating equality between the sexes, it is predominately about celebrating positive male role models, a very worthy aim in a social context which tends to highlight ONLY males behaving badly. Said concisely, International Women’s Day started as a day for women to promote socialist objectives, especially for proletarian women to fight against oppression by the upper bourgeois class comprised of men and women both. In the 1970’s it became a new movement claiming that men alone oppressed women, and that IWD will be used as a vehicle to promote, primarily, an assumed gender war. Said differently IWD shifted from being a class war, to a gender war. International Men’s Day is not based on the assumption of a gender war. IMD is primarily about promoting and celebrating positive male role models in a contemporary world context which is obsessed with teaching all young boys and girls that males behave badly, and only badly.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Great artwork and very tastful. On the 8 March can I sit back and crack the wip and everything is done. Thank you for a great hub. I didn't know about it.

    • Lily Rose profile image
      Author

      Lily Rose 8 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks, myawn! The artwork is my mother's - surprise, mom!

    • myawn profile image

      myawn 8 years ago from Florida

      Nice information about Women's Day.I'm glad the schools began teaching more about it. The artwork is very nice. Enjoyed this hub,Thanks!

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