Saturday, March 9, 2024



Last Friday, March 8, was International Women’s Day, so a belated message of appreciation to all women for their contributions, caring and for just being there, especially to my wife Kate. Numero uno.

Some facts:

International Women's Day is a holiday celebrated annually on March 8 as a focal point in the women's rights movement. IWD gives focus to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women. Spurred by the universal female suffrage movement, IWD originated from labour movements in North America and Europe during the early 20th century.

The earliest version reported was a "Women's Day" organised by the Socialist Party of America in New York City on February 28, 1909. This inspired German delegates at the 1910 International Socialist Women's Conference to propose "a special Women's Day" be organised annually, albeit with no set date; the following year saw the first demonstrations and commemorations of International Women's Day across Europe.

In 1911 the first International Women's Day was marked by over a million people in Austria-Hungary, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. In Austria-Hungary alone, there were 300 demonstrations, with women parading on the Ringstrasse in Vienna, carrying banners honouring the martyrs of the Paris Commune. Across Europe, women demanded the right to vote and to hold public office, and protested against employment sex discrimination.

After the Russian Revolution in 1917, IWD was made a national holiday on March 8; it was subsequently celebrated on that date by the socialist movement and communist countries. The holiday was associated with far-left movements and governments until its adoption by the global feminist movement in the late 1960s. IWD became a mainstream global holiday following its promotion by the United Nations in 1977.

International Women's Day is a public holiday in several countries. The UN observes the holiday in connection with a particular issue, campaign, or theme in women's rights.

The symbol for International Women’s Day is a female gender symbol. It is usually accompanied by the colours purple, green and white.

According to the International Women's Day website, purple stands for dignity and justice, green for hope, and white for purity. "The colours originated from the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908."


The day’s purpose varies by country. In some, it's a day of protest, while in others, it's a means to promote gender equality. In some countries, International Women's Day is observed as a national holiday.

IWD is recognized as an official national holiday in Armenia, Belarus, Cambodia, Cuba, Georgia, Laos, Mongolia, Montenegro, Russia, Uganda, Ukraine and Vietnam.

In certain countries like Albania, Macedonia, Serbia and Uzbekistan, Women's Day has been combined with Mother's Day, a merger to highlight the importance of women as mothers.

In China, many women are given a half-day off work, while the Italian Festa della Donna is celebrated by the giving of mimosa blossoms.

In 1917, the celebration of Women's Day in Russia got them the right to vote.

Women in Russia commemorated the day that year by going on strike for 'bread and peace' in order to protest World War I and campaign for gender equality. Tsar Nicholas II was far from happy and authorized General Khabalov of the Petrograd Military District to shoot any woman who refused to stand down. They did not back down and the protests remained and led to the Tsar’s abdication. The interim government granted women the right to vote as a result of their protest action.

Female protesters in Petrograd on 8 March 1917

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