International Women’s Day has been celebrated since in the early 1900’s – a period of great expansion in the industrialized and business world. At that time, great unrest as well as critical debate was occurring amongst females.
Their fight against inequality and oppression was gathering momentum. It spurred many women to become active and vocal in this concerted campaign for change. In 1908, about 15,000 women marched through New York for their demand of better pay, shorter hours and voting rights.
In accordance with the Socialist Party of America declaration, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was celebrated across the US on 28 February. The US continued to celebrate the occasion on the last Sunday of February till 1913.
At a Socialist International meeting held in Copenhagen, an International Women’s Day was proposed to acknowledge their rights movement and to help them in achieving universal suffrage.
In 1917, on the last Sunday of February, women in Russia started a strike for ‘bread & peace’. Despite opposition from political leaders, they continued with their strike till the Czar was forced to abdicate; the provisional Government granted the right to vote to women.
The date the strike commenced was Sunday (23 February) on the Julian calendar then being used in Russia; this day on the Gregorian calendar was 8 March, now marked as the International Women’s Day.