March 8 is a major day of global celebration of women, International Women’s Day (IWD).
Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday now lost its political flavor, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day.
The first IWD was observed on 19 March 1908 in Germany following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. The idea of having an international women’s day was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that led to protests over working conditions.
In 1910, Second International held the first international women’s conference in Copenhagen (in the labour-movement building located at Jagtvej 69, which until 1 March 2007 housed Ungdomshuset).
An ‘International Women’s Day’ was established. It was suggested by the important German Socialist Clara Zetkin, although no date was specified.
The following year, 1911, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, on 19 March. They demanded the right to vote to hold public office for women, as well as protested against employment sex discrimination.
In 1913 Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February. In 1917 demonstrations marking International Women’s Day in St.Petersburg on the last Sunday in February.
On May 8, 1965 by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet International Women’s Day was declared a non working day in the USSR “in commemoration of the outstanding merits of Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Fatherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear, and also marking the great contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples, and the struggle for peace. But still, women’s day must be celebrated as are other holidays”.
In the West, International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.