International Women's Day - March 8

History of Women's Day

What is the origin of this International Women's Day on March 8th? It is a day in which the defence of women's rights is raised and in which we publicly assert those rights more strongly than ever.

Woman’s Day has been celebrated since the early twentieth century; more than a day of tribute it is a day of reflection about the important role women play in every sphere of life. On March 8th, we commemorate women's struggle for their participation in society.

The movement for the rights of women did not emerge in the twentieth century or even in the nineteenth century as many think, rather it was much earlier, but until the twentieth century women had not achieved major changes. Before the recognition of March 8th as International Women's Day there have been similar events, including the women's day which was held in the U.S. on February 28th, 1909, with the sacrifice and struggle of many women.

An official version of this event is that in Copenhagen in 1910 with a celebration of the Second International Conference of Socialist Women, where they unanimously approved the establishment of the International Day of Working Women, as a method of struggle for the cause of women. This was due to a proposal of a socialist and German woman, Clara Zetkin.

Regarding the fire caused by a factory owner that resulted 123 employed women dying during a protest for improvements of their working conditions: this did happen, but not in 1857, not in 1908, but on 25th March 1911 in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York, a few days after the first international meeting. Similarly it is known that a demonstration occurred in the textile industry 27 September 1909, and the strike lasted for 13 weeks (until February 15, 1910).

International Women's Day

The first International Women's Day was held on March 19th, 1911 in several European countries, and in that first meeting over a million women eagerly let the world know their rightful public claims.

Only in 1977, in the twentieth century, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) proclaimed March 8th as International Women's Day for Rights and International Peace, demanding:

  • Equality under the same conditions as men.
  • The right to vote
  • The right to occupy public office
  • The right to vocational training
  • The right to work and freedom from discrimination by the mere fact of being a woman.

But it is worth emphasizing that the situation of women has evolved exponentially, since a million women eager to let the world know their public claims, which by nature are due to them, but we must not forget that a century later many objectives have not been achieved, such as as non-discrimination of women at work.

The International Women's Day in Peru

Since International Women's Day was established by the UN in 1977, it is now celebrated worldwide every March 8th in memory of the pioneers who demanded equal rights and opportunities for women and men.

In Peru this celebration was a milestone that marked the beginning of the celebrations at the festival "celebration of life" held in Lima in 1983. The event was organized by different feminist institutions and the women's movement. The state officially joined in 1996 through the then Ministry of Promotion of Women and Human Development - PROMUDEH , now the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations - MIMP .

However, there is another date that is marked in our civic and school calendar, it is the day of the civil rights of Peruvian woman held on September 7th, since that day in 1955 whenP resident Manuel Odría enacted Law No. 12391, granting the right to vote to women.

Subsequently March was declared as the "month of women". This is the context of the adoption of the Ministerial Resolution No. 114-2007 - MIMDES in order to commemorate and recognize women who excel in their commitment to defend their rights and the promotion of gender equialty .

Manuel Escalante Sulca
March 2014

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