Ask someone in the United States the significance of the date March 8th and it is likely that the response will be a blank stare and shake of the head. Unbeknownst to the majority of Americans, March 8th is celebrated worldwide as International Women’s Day. Although not recognized as an official holiday by many countries, citizens around the world acknowledge the date as a celebration for women.
The day’s roots were inspired by two events that challenged women’s stereotypical subversive roles in society. The first took place in a New York in 1857 when female garment workers formed a strike to protest the inequity and hardships of their working conditions. Their strike ultimately led to the creation of the first women’s union in America. In a similar fashion, Russian women organized a strike in 1917 to encourage peace and compromise in a time when World War I was raging and the Russian Revolution was on horizon. While there have been a number of other events before, between, and after these two, the strikes in New York and Russia are often credited as the catalysts for the establishment of a global celebration honoring women. Continue reading