– Why Do We Celebrate International Women’s Day?

(From the 1st Programme, 1990)

In New York on March 8th 1907, widowed and poor women garment workers marching to demand improved conditions and equal rights were trampled and dispersed by police.

On the same day in 1908, women needle trade workers demonstrated for voting rights and an end to sweatshops and child labour.

Two years later, Clara Zetkin, a German Socialist leader, proposed that March 8th be designated International Women’s Day and, each year, it is celebrated in many countries – but not all.

South Africa’s International Women’s Day is on August 9th. On that day in 1956, 20,000 women marched on Pretoria to protest against the extension of the iniquitous Pass Law to women, a system aimed at controlling black migrant workers.

Russian women celebrate the day by giving each other roses.