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The Origins and Significance of International Women's Day: A Testament to Equality

Uncover the history of International Women's Day

International Women's Day, celebrated on the 8th of March every year, is a global day acknowledging the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

It also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This special day has roots that intertwine with the movements for women's rights and suffrage in the early 20th century, evolving over time to symbolise a unified struggle for gender equality and women's empowerment worldwide.

The genesis of International Women's Day can be traced back to the early 1900s, a period rife with radical ideologies and movements. In 1908, amidst rapid industrialisation and economic expansion, 15,000 women marched through Lower East Side of New York City protesting child labour and demanding shorter hours, better pay, and voting rights.

In 1909, the Socialist Party of America designated the last Sunday in February as National Woman's Day, which was observed across the United States. However, it was Clara Zetkin, a German Marxist theorist, activist, and advocate for women's rights, who proposed the idea of an International Women's Day at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910. Zetkin's idea was met with unanimous approval from over 100 women from 17 countries, setting the stage for an international observance.

The first International Women's Day was celebrated in 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, with rallies and events that demanded women's rights to work, vote, be trained, hold public office, and end discrimination. Notably, less than a week after the celebration, the tragic 'Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire' in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, highlighting the critical need for safe working conditions and labour laws, which became a focal point of subsequent International Women's Day observances.

Over the years, International Women's Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. It has been embraced by the feminist movement in the 1960s and officially recognised by the United Nations in 1975, further solidifying its significance as a global day for advocating women's rights and celebrating women's achievements.

Today, International Women's Day serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for gender equality and the need to continue pushing for substantial change. It is a day to reflect on the progress made, to call for change, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

At The Bridging Group, Women's Day holds a special significance as we stand firm for equal rights, ensuring that half of our team is female and treated equally. We are dedicated to building a workplace and society where everyone, regardless of gender, has the opportunity to thrive and succeed. Together, we continue to strive towards a more inclusive, equitable world, celebrating the achievements of women and advocating for a gender-balanced future.

International Women's Day is not just a day to celebrate the achievements of women; it symbolises the ongoing struggle for gender equality and reminds us of the importance of unity, advocacy, and action in making a difference.


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