International Women’s Day

Women protest in Petrograd, Russia, March 8, 1917

Women protest in Petrograd, Russia, March 8, 1917

International Women’s Day (March 8) is an annual day that advocates for women’s rights and celebrates the achievements of women.

Origins

International Women’s Day (IWD) grew out of the labor movement of the early 20th century in the United States and Europe. The first recognized National Women’s Day was held in the United States on February 28, 1909. It was organized by the Socialist Party of America to commemorate a garment workers’ strike in New York City the year before and to campaign for the enfranchisement of women.

In 1910, at the International Conference of Working Women in Denmark, German activist Clara Zetkin suggested an international day to advocate for women’s rights and suffrage. As a result, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated in the United States and various European countries on March 19, 1911.

Early History

In its early years, International Women’s Day was often tied to socialism and the fight for women’s suffrage. In 1917, Russian women held protests for “bread and peace” on March 8 (Februrary 23 on the Russian calendar). These protests contributed to the toppling of the czar and the Russian Revolution. March 8 has been the official date of International Women’s Day since 1921.

Later Observances

Until the mid-1970s, International Women’s Day was largely celebrated in socialist countries, such as the Soviet Union. Then in 1975, the United Nations observed the day as part of the International Women’s Year, and the organization officially recognized International Women’s Day in 1977. Since then, the day has moved further away from its socialist origins.

International Women’s Day Today

Today, International Women’s Day is an official holiday in more than 25 countries and is observed unofficially in many more. In some countries, it is a day for activism and protest, while other nations celebrate it as a women’s appreciation day. It is often associated with the color purple, and each year has a theme.

Learn more about International Women’s Day through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.


Articles and Clippings about International Women’s Day

Socialist Party and Socialist women's societies hold women's suffrage meetings 28 Feb 1909Socialist Party and Socialist women's societies hold women's suffrage meetings 28 Feb 1909 Mon, Mar 1, 1909 – 7 · Buffalo Evening News (Buffalo, New York) · Newspapers.comNational Woman's Committee of the Socialist Party sets aside 27 February 1910 as Woman's DayNational Woman's Committee of the Socialist Party sets aside 27 February 1910 as Woman's Day Mon, Jan 17, 1910 – Page 2 · Black Hills Daily Register (Lead, South Dakota) · Newspapers.com1910 international Socialist women's conference where an international women's day was proposed1910 international Socialist women's conference where an international women's day was proposed Sat, Oct 1, 1910 – 2 · Progressive Woman (Girard, Kansas) · Newspapers.com"Woman's Day in Germany" (1911); mentions Clara Zetkin, of International Socialist Woman's Movement Sat, Apr 29, 1911 – 11 · Coming Nation (Girard, Kansas) · Newspapers.comSocialists in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland celebrate Woman's Day in March 1911Socialists in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland celebrate Woman's Day in March 1911 Wed, Mar 22, 1911 – Page 6 · Harrisburg Daily Independent (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comInternational Woman's Day to be celebrated in U.S. and Europe on 19 March 1914International Woman's Day to be celebrated in U.S. and Europe on 19 March 1914 Thu, Feb 19, 1914 – 4 · The Selma Enterprise (Selma, California) · Newspapers.comExcerpt from 1917 article explaining how women's demonstration in Russia contributed to revolutionExcerpt from 1917 article explaining how women's demonstration in Russia contributed to revolution Fri, Mar 16, 1917 – 1 · The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada) · Newspapers.comPhoto of women marching through Moscow for International Women's Day 1924Photo of women marching through Moscow for International Women's Day 1924 Thu, Apr 10, 1924 – Page 45 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) · Newspapers.comInternational Women's Day is observed in China in March 1927International Women's Day is observed in China in March 1927 Mon, Mar 21, 1927 – Page 6 · The Morning News (Wilmington, Delaware) · Newspapers.comPhoto of women gathered in England's Trafalgar Square for International Women's Day in 1928Photo of women gathered in England's Trafalgar Square for International Women's Day in 1928 Sun, Apr 1, 1928 – Page 103 · The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) · Newspapers.comNewspaper article about local International Women's Day celebrations in 1937 CanadaNewspaper article about local International Women's Day celebrations in 1937 Canada Tue, Mar 9, 1937 – 8 · Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) · Newspapers.comInternational Women's Day celebrated in Manchester, England, in 1946International Women's Day celebrated in Manchester, England, in 1946 Mon, Mar 11, 1946 – 6 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comImage of women marching in Tokyo, Japan for International Women's Day 1949Image of women marching in Tokyo, Japan for International Women's Day 1949 Thu, Mar 31, 1949 – Page 2 · The Eagle (Bryan, Texas) · Newspapers.comPicture of Eleanor Roosevelt on International Women's Day 1949Picture of Eleanor Roosevelt on International Women's Day 1949 Sun, Jun 19, 1949 – 78 · The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah) · Newspapers.comInternational Women's Day photo from China in 1952International Women's Day photo from China in 1952 Wed, Apr 30, 1952 – Page 11 · The News-Herald (Franklin, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comOpinion: International Women's Day is Opinion: International Women's Day is "a day for celebration--and action" (1974) Fri, Mar 8, 1974 – 5 · Bennington Banner (Bennington, Vermont) · Newspapers.comUnited Nations celebrates 1975 as the International Women's YearUnited Nations celebrates 1975 as the International Women's Year Wed, May 7, 1975 – 26 · Public Opinion (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comUnited Nations promotes International Women's Day in 1975United Nations promotes International Women's Day in 1975 Fri, Mar 7, 1975 – Page 30 · The Town Talk (Alexandria, Louisiana) · Newspapers.com1977 opinion piece opposing International Women's Day as 1977 opinion piece opposing International Women's Day as "subsidized subversion" Thu, Sep 8, 1977 – 16 · The Leader, the Garland Times (Tremonton, Utah) · Newspapers.comInternational Women's Day rally in Iran, 2003International Women's Day rally in Iran, 2003 Sun, Mar 9, 2003 – Page 9 · The Index-Journal (Greenwood, South Carolina) · Newspapers.com"International women's day: a time for protests, strikes" (2018) Fri, Mar 9, 2018 – A4 · Republican and Herald (Pottsville, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comInternational Women's Day facts and timeline (2001)International Women's Day facts and timeline (2001) Thu, Mar 8, 2001 – 52 · Richmond Review (Richmond, British Columbia, Canada) · Newspapers.com
"International Women’s Day," Newspapers.com Topics (https://www.newspapers.com/topics/holidays/international-womens-day/ : accessed April 4, 2020)