International Women’s Day is observed every year to celebrate their spirit and power right since the early 1900’s, a phase of both great expansion and immense turbulence in the then industrialized world, which witnessed the rise of many radical ideologies. It’s marked as a global event to acknowledge the political, social and economic, achievements of womenfolk – past, present as well as future. Here’s a quick grasp of the several interesting facts related to it:

Timeline: 1908-10

* Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women’s oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

* 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 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.

* In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. Clara Zetkin tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands.

Timeline: 1911-17

* Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women’s Day (IWD) was honored the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination.

* On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, Women’s Day was transferred to 8 March. In 1914 women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women’s solidarity. On the last Sunday of February in 1917, Russian women began a strike for ‘bread and peace’. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was 8 March.

Timeline: 1975 onwards

* 1975 was designated as ‘International Women’s Year’ by the United Nations. IWD is now official holiday in many countries like Afghanistan, Armenia, Cambodia, China, Nepal and Madagascar (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Russia, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zambia.

The tradition sees men often honoring their colleagues, wives, girlfriends etc with flowers and gifts. In some countries the event has attained status equivalent of Mother’s Day and children give presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

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