International Women’s Day. Also known as IWD for short, grew from the labour movements of our past.
In 1908 15,000 Women marched through New York City; demanding shorter workdays, better pay and the right to vote.
In 1909 the Socialist Party of America declared the first National Women’s Day
In 1910 Clara Zetkin; communist activist and advocate for women’s rights suggest they make it an international Day. She brought this idea to 100 women from 17 countries at the International Conference of Working women in Copenhagen. They unanimously agreed and the first IWD was celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.
In 1975 IWD was made official when the United Nations started celebrating the day
International Women’s Day has now become a global Day to recognize and celebrate the achievements in social, cultural, political and economics by women and girls. A day of unity, celebration, reflection and advocacy and gender equality but more awareness is still needed.
The colour purple is often the most common colour associated with IWD but according to the International Women’s Day webpage Purple, Green and white are the colours of IWD; these colours originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908
The Colour Purple signifies “justice and dignity”
The colour Green symbolizes “hope”
The colour White represents “purity”
Why we Need Awareness
Women around the world are still fighting for basic rights; In the past year alone Women in many countries, such as Afghanistan, Iran, Ukraine and even the USA have been fighting for their rights.
in Afghanistan women have been fighting for the right to education.
In Iran women’s lives are threated by the morality police. In September 2022 a woman was beaten and died for allegedly violating Iran’s Strict rules of Dress. This has led to many demonstrations calling for better rights for women and a change of the current political leadership- these have been viewed as riots by authorities.
In the Ukraine since the invasion of Russia in February 2022 the UN has reported that gender gaps in food insecurity, malnutrition, poverty and an increase in gender base violence have worsened.
In June 2022, the USA supreme court overturned Roe v Wade, a historic piece of legislation which protected women’s right to have abortions. Restricting women from the freedom to make medical decision about their own bodies.
Some positive outcomes in Women’s rights
In November 2022 the European parliament passed a law after a 10-year battle; to guarantee that there are more women representatives on the publicly traded companies board by 2026.
Parental leave laws were updated in Armenia and Colombia
Spain passed a law to support Menstrual Health Leave and extended access to abortions.
The international Olympic Committee reported the most gender balanced winter games in history- with Women making up 45% of the athletes at Beijing 2022.
We have so many amazing leaders involved in the IAM
Speaking with just a few of the Sisters we have in leadership roles. Thank you all for taking the time to answer these questions!
Kim Valliere- Grand Lodge Rep
If you don’t see someone doing what needs to be done, do it
If you don’t feel someone is there for you, be there for someone else.
If you see a void or gap in tasks being handled, do the work
And when someone asks you to do something that is unfamiliar or outside your comfort zone, prepare yourself the best you can, and do it anyway!
This has been, and continues to be an incredible journey for me, I am humbled, privileged and honoured to serve the members of our great union.
Mona Burke- District Lodge 78 Secretary Treasurer
Heather Kelly- Retired Grand Lodge Rep