Thursday, February 25, 2010

International Women’s Day in Brazil

Another country that observes the IWD is Brazil. Up to today women are given roses on that day accompanied by congratulations. In the last couple of years though this custom has caused feminists to refuse the roses and demand “equal pay, more presentation in politics and less violence” instead.
Domestic violence continues to be a huge problem in Brazil. In a 2006 report on Human Rights it was pointed out, that although the government tripled the punishment for family violence and spousal abuse, the problem remains widespread. Among other interesting information the same report contains facts about (un)equal pay, maternity leave and the number of women in government positions.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

International Women’s Day in Russia

The IWD was considered an important event in Russia, respectively the Soviet Union, and designated as a national holiday (and still is).

It was first celebrated 1913 on the eve of the First World War when Women and Men protested for peace and better working conditions. With the end of the war, millions of Russian soldiers dead, Russian Women in 1917 chose to strike for “bread and peace”. This strike started on February 23 on the Julian calendar (March 8 in the Gregorian calendar) and within the next couple of days more and more women and men joined in. The Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional government granted women the right to vote.

Due to these events as well as discussion beforehand the IWD was moved to March 8th and has been celebrated on these days since 1918.

Monday, February 22, 2010

International Women’s Day

While 2011 will be the 100th year of celebrating the International Women’s day, this March 8th, 2010 will actually be the 100th time it is observed. In honor of this day I will feature a couple of countries who observes the IWD over the next 2 weeks.

For starters some historic background:

Women have been protesting for better working conditions and equal pay since the mid 19th century, but the first organized protest took place on March 8, 1908. On this day so-called “garment worker” (women working in the textile and clothing factories) marched through New York City demanding a shortened work day, better pay, the right to vote and an abolishment of child labor. The slogan "Bread and Roses" was adopted, with bread symbolizing economic security and roses a better quality of life.
Two years later an international women’s rights conference was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, and at this conference the German socialist Clara Zetkin suggested the institution of an International Women’s Day to support the garment workers movement. This proposal was approved undisputed by the conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, including the first three women elected to the parliament of Finland. The following spring of 1911 women and men rallied in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland to celebrate the first International Women’s Day.