March 8 – History and Origin of The International Day Of Women



The most widespread story about the commemoration of March 8 refers to the events that took place on that date of the year 1908, where 146 women workers died from the Cotton textile factory in New York in a fire caused by the incendiary bombs thrown at them. before the refusal to leave the confinement in which they protested by the low wages and the infamous conditions of work that suffered. It also recognizes as a precedent the demonstrations carried out by textile workers on March 8, 1957, also in New York.

New York textile workers, protagonists of March 8:

If the time machine existed, we could see Celia or Elisa, along with her factory mates, walking the streets of New York at the end of the winter of 1857. It was a time when more and more women joined the production , especially in the textile branch, where they were an absolute majority.

But the strenuous days of more than 12 hours in exchange for miserable wages revolted the workers of a New York textile factory that went out to demand their rights. It was March 8 and the demonstrators were attacked by the police.

But it was not the first nor the last time that the textile workers were mobilized. Half a century later, in March 1908, 15,000 workers marched through the same city to the cry of “Bread and roses!”, Synthesizing in this slogan their demands for higher wages and better living conditions. And, the following year – also in March – more than 140 young women died burned in the textile factory where they worked locked up in inhumane conditions.

It was finally in 1910, during an International Congress of Socialist Women, that the German Clara Zetkin (left photo) proposed that March 8 be established as the International Women’s Day, in homage to those who carried out the first actions of women organized workers against capitalist exploitation.

Seven years later, when this day was commemorated in Russia – February 1917, for the Orthodox calendar -, textile workers took to the streets demanding “Bread, peace and freedom”, marking the beginning of the greatest revolution of the 20th century , which led to the seizure of power by the working class, in the month of October of the same year.

Clara Zetkin (1857-1933) was a leader of the German Social Democratic Party and organizer of its women’s section. She founded the newspaper “La Igualdad”, which became one of the most important expression channels of socialist women of her time. He fought against the leadership of his party when it aligned itself with the national bourgeoisie by voting for war credits in the First World War.

Bread, roses, nationalization and workers control

Slowly, and as feminism has been gaining strength throughout the world, Women’s Day has been losing its workers’ character, becoming a day of struggle in which the rights of all women in all areas are claimed .

Year after year, thousands of women take to the streets around the world to demand new rights, defend those already won and fight against those laws that discriminate against them or that reject the principle of equality of sexes and opportunities.

In many parts of the world, women continue to demand basic rights such as access to education, culture, work or politics.

Women today express their willingness to participate in conditions of equality in sectors in which their participation has traditionally been a minority. In the image, two women of the Somali people.

History of the role of women in society

The modern family is a consequence of the transformations that imposed on the institution the technical and scientific advances of humanity and the industrial revolution that they provoked.

Thus, for example, the role of women has fundamentally varied. From a position withdrawn to the bosom of the household, in which he was in charge of domestic tasks and subordinated to man, he was projected towards the outside of the familiar circle, entering in the performance of activities in factories, schools, parliaments and functions of government and public and private administration.

As a result, she became aware of her ability and possibilities and was forced to start studying and specializing to be able to compete successfully.

At the same time, it made notable advances in the legal field, reaching civilized and civil equality with respect to man in the majority of civilized countries. He also increased his influence and authority within the family by having his own income, product of his personal work, with which he strengthens the economic power of the group and allows to improve their standard of living and the education that he gives to his children.

Subsequently, in the various countries of the western world, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries women were granted the right to acquire their property and it was equated with education, opening colleges and universities for it. Finally the suffrage was granted to him, standing out in the defense of this right the North American thinker Emerson and the British philosopher Stuart Mill.

In 1920, the United States granted women’s votes. England did it in 1928. France and Italy, in 1946. Today, most countries recognize women’s right to vote.

Our country granted civil rights to women in 1926 and political rights in 1949. Before 1926, married women were considered incapable and legally equated with the insane and the minors. At the same time, it has been improving its social status through protection laws that avoid unfair situations of inferiority. By decree No. 2739, of 1956, the principle of “equal work, equal pay” is established, by which the remuneration of women and men is equated, in cases in which they fulfill similar tasks. Likewise, it was incorporated into article 14 bis of the National Constitution, in the 1957 reform.

In our century, humanity begins to understand that women’s rights are only one phase of the even broader problem of human rights, because where men are victims of exploitation, so are women.

In this evolution of the role of women, one can not forget the role of mother, for which she is naturally and specifically gifted. And as the female contribution, with the intellectual and affective qualities that characterize that sex, enriches society, it is important that society knows how to value and protect what is seen as an exercise of legitimate rights, but it also has a lot of self-sacrificing sacrifice .

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