Happy International Women's Day!
Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Image Courtesy of Sophia Hollis
The theme this year for International Women's Day is #ChooseToChallenge. "A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day," writes the International Women's Day Organization. "We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge." IWD supports several missions including fostering equality to empower women worldwide; building inclusive workplaces; and recognizing women's achievements in sports, the arts, and technology and innovation.
The first National Women's Day celebrated in America was organized by the Socialist Party with a march held on February 28, 1909 in honor of the 1908 Garment Worker's Strikein New York City. Fifteen thousand women marched through the Lower East Side calling for "economic and political rights" -- meaning a fair wage and the right to vote. But the Movement was not limited to America, and women throughout the world marched and called for equality.
In 1917 Poliksena Shishkina-lavein, leader of Russia's League of Women's Equal Rights, led 40,0000 women in a march at the beginning of the Russian Revolution. The date of this march by the Julian Calendar was February 23rd, but by the Gregorian calendar, which most of the world follows today, it wasMarch 8th, which is where we get the date for International Women's Day. It is impressive that in a few short months - March to July - these women's persistence resulted in women of age 20 years and over being granted the right to vote in Russia. And while women everywhere have gained ground, there is still a lot of work to be done towards gender equality both globally and in our own backyard.
If you would like to learn more about International Women's Day, there are many sources of information on the internet. Please visit the United Nationswebsite to learn more about global initiatives for women's rights, or you can search the International Women's Day website forvirtual eventsaround the world. Additionally you can check out local offerings from Zeider's American Dream Theatre, Slover Library, Colonial Williamsburg, or The Sandler Center. And look for more stories about local women in Spotlight News' series Women of Note.