Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.
HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
Susan B. Anthony was a political activist and an advocate of women’s rights. After the Civil War, she fought for the 14th Amendment that was meant to grant all naturalized and native-born Americans citizenship in the hope that it would include suffrage rights. Although the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, it still didn’t secure their vote. In 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was founded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to continue the fight for women’s rights.
In the early 1900s, women were experiencing pay inequality, a lack of voting rights, and they were being overworked. In response to all of this, 15,000 women marched through New York City in 1908 to demand their rights. In 1909, the first National Women’s Day was observed in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. This was celebrated on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
An International Women’s Conference was organized in August 1910 by Clara Zetkin, a German suffragist and leader in the Women’s Office. Zetkin proposed a special Women’s Day to be organized annually and International Women’s Day was honored the following year in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, with more than one million attending the rallies. On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified and white women were granted the right to vote in the U.S.
The liberation movement took place in the 1960s and the effort led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, allowing all women the right to vote.
When the internet became more commonplace, feminism and the fight against gender inequality experienced a resurgence. However, during the pandemic, women became a higher risk of personal and professional disruption–but strides have been made to encourage a “she-covery”. Through the passing of $10 a day childcare legislation, recovery plans to bring women back into the workforce, as well as significant changes in what workplaces, Canada is taking action to ensure women emerge from this pandemic stronger than before.
While this type of support is not available to all women around the world, we, as Canadian women are lucky to have the opportunity to celebrate International Women’s Day, and push forward with the hope of creating a completely equal society.