International Womens Day
The very first International Women's Day was launched in Germany, by Clara Zetkin, on 19th March 1911 [not 8th March]. The date was chosen because on 19th March in the 1848 revolution, the Prussian king recognized, the strength of the armed people and gave way before the threat of a proletarian uprising. Among the many promises he made, which he later failed to keep, was the introduction of votes for women.
In 1869 British MP John Stuart Mill was the first person in Parliament to call for women's right to vote. On 19th September 1893, New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the right to vote.
In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman's Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28th February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
In 1913 International Women's Day was transferred to 8th March and this day has remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since.
Women in other countries did not enjoy this equality and campaigned for justice for many years. 2011 sees the 100th Anniversary of this august institution.
During International Women's Year in 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and was taken up by many governments. International Women's Day is marked by a national holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
The tradition, Will and Guy have learned often sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, with flowers and small gifts.
In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
We have no quarrel with Rosie's list, yet as we were reading about these inspirational women, however Guy wondered if Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale or Mary Seacole should be included. Should either Queen Elizabeth be on the list?
The Guardian newspaper in the UK is asking readers to compile a list of the top 100 inspirational women. Will and Guy will watch this with great interest.
Many talented and inspirational women leap into our minds. Here are a few to remind you:
[Clockwise from left] Hillary Clinton, Beyoncé, Michelle Bachelet, Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Thatcher, JK Rowling, Tanni Grey-Thompson and Aung San Suu Kyi
On the First International Women's day 100 years ago, people marched across Europe campaigning for women's rights to vote, work, be trained and hold public office. A great deal has changed since then. These basic rights are taken for granted in large parts of the world. Women have risen to pole political positions in many countries, including the UK.
Discrimination Against Women Persists Today In Many Counties
Women make up between 70% and 80% of the world's poor, illiterate and refugee populations, and sexual and domestic violence continues to cause alarm. A girl growing up in Chad today has about the same chance of dying while giving birth as she has of going to secondary school.
Pregnancy is the biggest killer of women aged 15 to 19 in the developing world.
While girls often do better than boys at school, women working full-time in the UK are paid on average less per hour than men - 40 years after the Equal Pay Act - and fill just 12.5% of boardroom posts in leading companies.
Global Issues Which Still Confront Women Today [Taken from the IWD site]
However, we feel that IWD is not only about famous women; those unsung heroines should also receive plaudits an not just on Women's Day 8th March.
Years ago, when my then husband had been made redundant, I was pregnant with our second child and our daughter was only 10 months old.
We were on benefits for the first time in our lives - even the baby milk was free - and our mortgage was being paid. Our pride was in our boots.
A free supermarket bus used to drop off people outside our house and a lady got off the bus and came down our drive with two bags of shopping for us.
She said she hoped I didn't mind but she'd heard of our troubles from
some of the neighbours and had bought us a chicken, fresh cream, cakes and
biscuits to help us out.
I offered to pay but she wouldn't hear of it and said I'd have the opportunity to do the same for someone else one day when our fortunes took a turn for the better.
I've done the same more than once and I'll never forget the stranger who knocked on my door with free shopping for me and my family in our time of need.
Told by Louise Hobson, Hull, UK.
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