Psychology of Women: Women In History
International Women’s Day
International Women's Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the
economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.
In some countries like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, IWD is a national
holiday. The first IWD event was run in 1911 so 2011 sees the Global Centenary.
The National Women's Loyal League was formed
by Susan B. Anthony, who traveled extensively across the country lecturing for
the women's right to vote, their right to own property, anti- slavery issues,
and women labor organizations. Along with Susan Anthony was Elizabeth Cady
Stanton, who also was instrumental in the fight for women's rights and she was
the primary architect for the women's suffrage movement. And out of the era of
slavery and the Civil War, we have the only woman recipient of the nation's
highest military decoration, The Congressional Medal of Honor. Mary Walker,
whose life as a feminist, abolitionist, prohibitionist, spy, prisoner of war,
and as a surgeon is absolutely remarkable to say the least. When we look at
these heroes, we are looking at the roots of the women's movements and the
observance of International Women's Day.
Bastille Day spells prison for sixteen suffragettes who
picketed the White House. Miss Julia Hurlbut of Morristown, New Jersey, leading
the sixteen members of the National Womans Party.
It is important to look at the history behind
the IWD in order to grasp the growth of the movement because there were so many
issues which were intertwined and instrumental leading up to the observance of
IWD. On March 8, 1857, women working in the clothing and textile factories in
New York City staged a protest against the inhumane working conditions they were
enduring and the low wages they were being paid. The women were met by police
who attacked and dispersed them. However, in order to gain some level of basic
human rights and for protection, the women formed their first labor union two
Women suffragettes enrolling their willingness to aid
their country when hostilities broke out between Germany and the United States.
It is reported, prior to their infamous strike
in the early 1900s, that Samuel Gompers and a few other men, who led Local 25,
made some very uninspiring speeches to the women in the International Ladies'
Garment Workers' Union. In response to the speeches by the officials of Local
asked to be heard. Speaking in Yiddish, she declared, I am tired of listening to
speakers who talk in general terms. What we are here for is to decide whether we
shall or shall not strike. I offer a resolution that a general strike be
declared now. Her statement made the crowd roar their approval and the chairman
of the meeting rang out, do you mean faith? Will you take the old Jewish oath?
Everyone threw up their hands in approval and in Yiddish, they all took the
oath, If I turn traitor to the cause I now pledge, may this hand wither from the
arm I now raise! The battle cry of the women garment workers was, We'd rather
starve quick than starve slow.
The first observance of IWD in the U.S. was on
the 28th day of February in 1909. Another relevant issue which the IWD
commemorates is the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist
Factory in 1911. Backed by the Socialist Party of America and
the Socialist International, the IWD was established and spread throughout a
large part of Europe and the demonstrations of the IWD in Russia is said to be
the initial stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917. The IWD has roots in the
peace movements as far back as World War I and also in the movement for
Women's Suffrage. Many have heard about Franklin Roosevelt and
his advocacy of the New Deal as a means to recover from the depression, but few
have heard of the importance of his wife Eleanor Roosevelt
and her involvement in the women's movement. However, the prevalence of the
movement dwindled after the depression era but was renewed by the
feminist movement of the 60's, and women's continued efforts to
gain equality and respect in not only the workplace but
within the entire social structure of the people. The feminism of the 60's is
often called second-wave feminism.
One of the suffragette banners carried by the women who
picketed the White House and Capitol.
In the social turmoil of the civil rights
movement of the 60's, the emergence of a stronger solidarity among women was
seen. When the Bitch Manifesto
was published in 1968, a new era began and women's voices began to be heard once
more in unison and the fight for equality, justice, and
respect was back in society's face!
The strength of the feminists in the 60's shook the predominately male
structures in place and shocked a public which had turned a blind eye to the
injustices wrought on women throughout history.
And Bitches must
form together in a movement to deal with their problems in a political manner.
They must organize for their own liberation as all women must organize for
theirs. We must be strong, we must be militant, we must be dangerous. We must
realize that Bitch is Beautiful and that we have nothing to lose. Nothing
When Joreen Freeman published her manifesto,
it raised many eyebrows but not near as much as the extremely anti-male militant
publication of the S.C.U.M. Manifesto
(Society for Cutting Up Men). Now Valerie Solanas
really got people's attention
(especially the male of our species), and Valerie is best known for the
shooting of Andy Warhol! Valerie scared the hell out of the
testosterone poisoned male order who had been taught and
believed nothing existed outside of masculinism.
To call a man an
animal is to flatter him; he's a machine, a walking dildo.
- Valerie Solanas, Authoress
of the SCUM Manifesto
The women's movement of the 60's was an
awakening for everyone and the feminist movement changed the face of society
forever. Today the women's movement not only continues to fight for equal
rights, but has moved into other controversial territories such as reproductive
rights, military enrollment, clergy, affirmative action, pornography, sexual
harassment, and even surrogate motherhood. All important and controversial
issues which much be addressed and debated. Many within the feminist movement
today proudly call themselves third-wave feminists
who concentrate on expanding the common definitions of gender and sexuality. The
fight continues today as women's salaries all too often remain lower than those
of their male counterparts, and barriers against women's rights are continually
being challenged. The remaining injustices are being tackled daily in the courts
and conference rooms, the homes and organizations, workplaces and playing fields
of America. There are many organizations of feminist activists who continue to
work on eeliminating discrimination and harassment in the workplace,
schools, and the justice systems here in the U.S. The National Organization for
Women(N O W) is the largest organization
here in the states and they have been instrumental in bringing about change in
ending all forms of violence against women, eradicating racism, sexism and
homophobia, and they continue to promote equality and justice within our
The Association for Women's Rights in Development is
an international organization devoted to connecting, informing, and mobilizing
people and organizations in the fight for gender equality, sustainable
development, and women's human rights. Women who may not ascribe to the exact
ideals or work of their predecessors, but who are just as dedicated to the
spirit of the movement, which hasn't really changed. Coretta Scott King once
said, “Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn
it and win it in every generation.”
Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women.
Women's oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and
active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New
York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of
America, the first National Woman's Day (NWD) was observed across the United
States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of
February until 1913.
- In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in
Copenhagen. A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the
Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's
Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration
on the same day - a Women's Day – to press for their demands. The conference of
over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties,
working women's clubs, and including the first three women elected to the
Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval and thus
International Women's Day was the result.
Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911,
International Women's Day (IWD) was honored the first time in Austria, Denmark,
Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men
attended IWD rallies campaigning for women's rights to work, vote, be trained,
to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on
25 March, the tragic 'Triangle Fire' in New York City took the lives of more
than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This
disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labor
legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International
Women's Day events. 1911 also saw women’s 'Bread & Roses' campaign.
On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women
observed their first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February
1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women's Day was transferred
to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women's
Day ever since. In 1914 further women across Europe held rallies to campaign
against the war and to express women's solidarity.
On the last Sunday of February, Russian women began a strike for "bread and
peace" in response to the death over 2million Russian soldiers in war. Opposed
by political leaders the women continued to strike until four days later the
Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the
right to vote. The date the women's strike commenced was Sunday 23 February on
the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in
use elsewhere was 8 March.
1918 – 1999 -
Since its birth in the socialist movement, International Women's
Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across
developed and developing countries alike. For decades, IWD has grown from
strength to strength annually. For many years the United Nations has held an
annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women's rights and
participation in social, political and economic processes. 1975 was designated
as International Women's Year' by the United Nations. Women's organizations and
governments around the world have also observed IWD annually on 8 March by
holding large-scale events that honor women's advancement and while diligently
reminding of the continued vigilance and action required to ensure that women's
equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life.
2000 and beyond - IWD is now an official holiday in China,
Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The
tradition sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc.
with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of
Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and
grandmothers. The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and
attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women’s equality
and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that 'all the battles have
been won for women ‘while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the
longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the
boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical
mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life,
one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is
that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women
still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally
women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of
men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts
and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work
and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD
has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to
a celebration of the positives. Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are
held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global
web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world
ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and
networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatre performances,
fashion parades and more. Many global corporations have also started to more
actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting
external ones. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google some
years even changes its logo on its global search pages. Year on year IWD is
certainly increasing in status. The United States even designates the whole
month of March as 'Women's History Month'. Globally there are many very large
scale highly organized IWD events. So make a difference, think globally and act
locally! Make every day International Women's Day. Do your bit to ensure that
the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding. The International
Women's Day website at
a global hub for sharing International Women’s Day news, events and resources.
It provides a free service to women and organizations around the world wanting
to share and promote their IWD activity, videos, opinions and ideas. Please feel
free to submit gender-related items for the site that you consider relevant and
2011 IWD Global Centenary Year
2011 is the global centenary year for International Women’s Day –
100 years since the first International Women's Day event was run. More than one
million women and men attended rallies in 1911.
International Women’s Day Trivia
The 2012 Olympics in London is expected to be the ﬁrst in which women makeup
roughly half the athletes. What percentage of the competitors were women the ﬁrst
time the Olympics were held in London, in 1908?
1.8 percent (37 women took part alongside 1,971 men )
Who was the ﬁrst person to win two Nobel Prizes?
Marie Curie, in physics (1903) and chemistry (1911)
How many women currently hold the position of president or
prime ministers around the world?
18. That's a new record.
Who was the ﬁrst
elected head of state in Africa?
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Nujood Ali, of Yemen, grabbed the world’s attention when ﬁling for divorce in
2008. How old was she?
10 years old
Important Moments In Women's History
The 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution,
extending the right to vote to women. Passed by Congress June 4, 1919,
and ratified on August 18, 1920.
Rankin of Montana, first woman elected to Congress
Rankin of Montana was the first woman elected to Congress, four years
before woman suffrage was added to the Constitution in 1920. She served
for Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, 1916.
Amelia Earthart at Carlsbad Caverns
When Amelia Earthart
visited Carlsbad Caverns in 1932, Superintendant Boles signed her up for
a future trip to explore the "Bottomless Pit."
Lady Betty Ford wears an “ERA” (Equal Rights Amendment) button during
her personal time at the Inverray Country Club in Hollywood, Florida
while the President played in a golf tournament.
Henry Hoover, wife of President Herbert Hoover, was one of the first
women to earn a degree in geology from an American university. In 1898
she received her degree from Stanford.
Roosevelt votes on Election Day. November 3, 1936.
Women In the Military
San Francisco Yeomen Attached to the Naval Reserve, June 1918.
yeoman (F) on Submarine K-5 gazes through her binoculars, ca. 1918.
new Navy nurses Cmdr. Thomas A. Gaylord, USN (Ret'd), administers
oath to five new Navy nurses commissioned in New York. Phyllis Mae
Dailey, the Navy's first African American nurse, is second from the
Stinson, only woman to whom a pilot's license has been granted by Army &
Navy Committee of Aeronautics." 1917 - 1919
Lt. Willa Brown - aviatrix -
maker of pilots, 1943, from a set of cartoons promoting the war effort
by Charles Alston, compiled ca. 1942 - ca. 1945.