Originally the day of remembrance symbolised the efforts to end appalling working conditions endured by women.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, many women in industrially-developing countries entered the labour force taking jobs with low wages, poor working conditions and little or no chance of improvement. Such conditions led to industrial disputes, involving both unionised and non-unionised women workers. It was their struggle that created the global impetus for an International Women's Day.
Today, it is also seen as a day of celebration of women, all that they do, and the accomplishments they have made. Women and men celebrate International Women's Day to honour those who began the struggle and those who continue to work for change and recognition of all efforts to improve the lives of women, both locally and globally.
Did you know that back in 1789, during the French Revolution, Parisian women calling for "liberty, equality, fraternity" demanded women's suffrage for the first time as they marched to Versailles?
The first recorded organised action by working women anywhere in the world took place in New York on March 8, 1857, when hundreds of women in the garment and textile factories staged a strike in protest of low wages, long working hours, inadequate pay, inhumane working conditions and the lack of the right to vote.
In 1917 in Russia, International Women’s Day acquired great significance – it was the flashpoint for the Russian Revolution. On March 8th women workers in Petrograd held a mass strike and demonstration demanding Peace and Bread. The strike movement spread from factory to factory and effectively became an insurrection. In 1922, in honour of the women’s role on IWD in 1917, Lenin declared that March 8th should be designated officially as women’s day.
The United Nations involvement principally began in 1977 when the General Assembly passed a resolution inviting each country to proclaim, in accordance with its historical and national traditions and customs, any day of the year as United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace.
Over 150 countries have so far ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, (CEDAW) legally committing themselves to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.
Here is a list of famous influential women who changed the world to share with your children and which will provide endless hours of discussion. It includes women’s rights activists, female poets, musicians, politicians, humanitarians and scientists: http://www.biographyonline.net/people/women-who-changed-world.html
Happy Women's Day