Today’s the 105th anniversary of International Women’s Day.
Inspired by speeches at an International Conference of Working Women the year before, in 1911 Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland set aside a day in March to honor women’s demands for equality. Each year more countries joined in. The arrest of suffragist Sylvia Pankhurst during a London demonstration on March 8, 1914, fixed the 8th as IWD-Day. (credit for IWD image at top)
Further globalizing the Day was U.N. General Assembly Resolution 32/142. Adopted on Dec. 16, 1977 (the same day the Assembly also considered a Draft Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, a version of which it would adopt 2 years later), Resolution 32/142:
“Invites all States to proclaim, in accordance with their historical and national traditions and customs, any day of the year as United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace …”
Most countries followed tradition and chose March 8, and paid note to annual U.N. themes (this year’s is #PledgeforParity).
The United States was a bit late to the party. Yet American observances increase every year, and last week, President Barack Obama proclaimed:
“I call upon all Americans to observe this month and to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2016, with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. I also invite all Americans to visit http://www.WomensHistoryMonth.gov to learn more about the generations of women who have left enduring imprints on our history.”
And so we will.