In 1910, Clara Zetkin, the feisty German orator and activist, gave a speech at the International Socialist Women’s conference in Copenhagen. She proposed that “the socialist women of all nationalities will hold each year a Women’s Day, whose foremost purpose it must be to aid the attainment of women’s suffrage.”
The first International Women’s Day (IWD) was held in March 1911. Originally known as International Working Women’s Day, the occasion celebrates women’s rights and gives us an opportunity to act for change. People all over the world still voice their demands for a better world on March 8th every year.
As IWD became officially recognized and adopted by the United Nations in the 1970s, the “working” got dropped from its title and its roots in working-class struggle were obscured. But on the 100th anniversary of IWD, CUPW remembers that it was first conceived as a day of action for working women everywhere.
It’s easy to feel good about the history of women’s accomplishments. But there is so much left to do. Most women gained the vote during the years following Zetkin’s call for a day of action. Some of us now hold positions of power and successfully campaign for social change. But today, in the 21st century, equality has yet to be achieved. In this issue of The Rose, we remember that none of us are equal until all of us are equal. Until that day comes, we continue our struggle.
Happy International Women’s Day to all our sisters and allies!