Empower women. Eliminate poverty.


A Look Back and Forward: International Women’s Day

IntlWomensDayBy Jelica “Eli” IselyEli is a member of the Foothills Circle that supports Friendship Bridge.  She has served as President of the Women’s Organization of Skopje (the capital of Macedonia) and has traveled throughout the world learning more about women’s rights.  The Foothills Circle is hosting an event to celebration International Women’s Day, for more information, click here.

I’d like to share with you a little bit of the history of International Women’s Day. It is an official holiday in twenty-seven countries and has been observed since the early 1900’s.

Although New Zealand was the first country to officially give women the right to vote in 1893, here in the US, women got their first chance in 1756. Ms. Lydia Taft, from New Jersey, was the first lady to vote.  Unfortunately, in 1807 that right was revoked and it wasn’t until 1869 that Wyoming gave women a voting right in the U.S. again. Utah followed suite in 1870.

Initial movements:
In 1910, Clara Zetkin, a Leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, started promoting the idea of an International Women’s Day. It was then announced in Europe, in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

Unfortunately, in 1911, 140 working women were killed in New York because of unbearable working conditions. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labor legislation in the U.S., which became a focus of subsequent International Women’s Day events.

In 1912 the world saw women’s Bread and Roses campaign  in Lawrence, Massachusetts, when women marched for better working conditions and pay.

In 1917 Russian women started a strike for Bread and Peace in response to more than two million causalities in the war. The Czar abdicated and the Provisional Government gave the women a right to vote.

It was 8th of March.

Then in 1920, the U.S. it was officially added as an Amendment in Constitution. Women had their right to vote!  But it wasn’t until 1975 that International Women’s Day was recognized by the United Nations.

The day of honoring women, their equality and emancipation.

The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally for the same jobs, women are still not present in equal numbers in business and politics, and globally, women’s education, health and violence against women is worse than that of men.  We must fight that!

However, great improvements have been made; we do have female astronauts, prime ministers, and presidents of countries.

Hillary Clinton’s speech in China, nine years ago, was titled Women’s Rights are Human Rights. Yes they are!  In her speech, she underlined the necessity of women coming together and sharing our aspirations, concerns, and plans for the future of our children, family, and our businesses.  Women who join together to give their children access to education, health care, jobs and credit, a chance to enjoy basic legal and human rights, and participate fully in the political life of the country.

We will gather in Golden to celebrate International Women’s Day and raise funds for Friendship Bridge.  We are homemakers, teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, policymakers, businesswomen, from so many different fields. Still each of us is building a good life for our families.  We can make our families flourish. And then the whole society will flourish!

Let us create a world in which every woman is treated with respect and dignity, every child is loved and cared for equally, and every family has the hope of a strong and stable future.

Let’s celebrate 8th of March with new victories for total equality!