- In 1908 the seeds of it were planted, when 15000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. A year later the Socialist Party of America declared 28 February 1909 as the first National Woman’s day, in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York.
- In 1910 the Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, proposed an International Women’s Day to honour the movement for women’s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women. The proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by the conference of over 100 women from 17 countries.
In 1911 the International Women’s Day was observed for the first time on 19 March in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, where more than one million women and men attended rallies. In addition to the right to vote and to hold public office, they demanded women’s rights to work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job.
The International Women’s day got formalised in 1917 when Russian women went on strike demanding “Bread and Peace” on the last Sunday in February (which fell on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar). Four days later, the Czar abdicated and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote.
In June 1921, the Second International Conference of Women, held in Moscow and chaired by Clara Zetkin, changed the date of International Women’s Day to March 8. Since then, March 8 is celebrated all over the world by women and men as a day to honour the fight against all kinds of exploitation, oppression, injustice and inequality.