Women deserve day of honor

International Women’s Day was on Sunday.

‘ For those who have never heard of the holiday, it is similar to the way we celebrated Mother’s Day before it became so commercialized.’

IWD was first observed in the U.S. as a political event celebrating the achievements of women. It has become somewhat commercialized over the years, spreading to more than 14 countries that celebrate IWD as a national holiday.’

In Russia, as well as other former Soviet Union countries, the holiday is comparable to a combination of Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, wrapping it into one big celebration for women, to whom the day is quite important.’

Olga Holdridge from Ukraine explains in her own words.

‘ ‘International Women’s Day is a very big holiday in ex-Soviet Union countries. Women get flowers, congratulate each other, and men do all the dishes and everything around the house,’ Holdridge said.

While this may seem a little more commercial than the history and purpose of the holiday, it proves to show that even worldwide, women seek recognition for their hard work.

The holiday was not granted easily. Like most things in the past, women had to fight for recognition.’

On March 8, 1857, women who worked in the textile industries of New York City began protesting against low wages and poor working conditions. On the same day in 1908, women marched demanding the prohibition of child labor, better working conditions and the right to vote. A year later the Socialist Party of America announced the last day of February as National Women’s Day. From then, it was celebrated in the US until 1913.

In 1910 at a Second International socialist conference in Copenhagen, the suggestion was made to give Women’s Day international recognition to mark the strike by garment workers in New York. It was unanimously approved, yet no definite date was set for the occasion.

Russian women protested World War I on Women’s Day in February 1913. According to the Julian calendar in use by Russians at the time, it would have been February 23. Coincidentally, that same day was March 8 using the Gregorian calendar, when women around Europe held rallies in protest against the war while showing solidarity with other women.

Those still wondering why a day is needed to celebrate women around the world should consider this--according to the U. N., nowhere in the world can women claim to have all the same rights and opportunities as men, and the majority of the world’s 1.3 million absolute poor are women.’

On average, women receive 30 to 40 percent less pay than men for the same work. And everywhere in the world women continue to be victims of violence, with rape and domestic violence listed as the most significant causes of disability and death among women of reproductive age worldwide.

Of the tremendous accomplishments women can claim, we have not yet been able to overcome inequalities and injustices incurred by those we trust.

‘ The U.N. General Assembly celebrates IWD to recognize that peace and social progress requires the active participations and equality of women, acknowledging the contribution by women to international peace and security.

Women worldwide should take the opportunity to observe and celebrate International Women’s Day as a way of recognizing how far they have come in the fight for peace, equality and the development of women.

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