International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. It is the story of ordinary women as makers of history and is rooted in the struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. The IWD global centenary is celebrated in 2011.
The first IWD was held on 19 March 1911 when more than a million European women united, calling for the right of women to vote, work and hold public office and an end to discrimination. In 1910, at an international conference of women held in Copenhagen, a woman named Clara Zetkin (leader of the “Women’s Office” for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. Clara would go on to launch the very first International Women’s Day on 19 March the following year.
International Women’s Day has been celebrated on 8 March each year since 1913, when the date was transferred from 19 March. It aims to promote positive change and raise awareness about problems women face in their everyday lives and is also a chance to celebrate the achievements of women. This date is also designated in many countries as a national holiday.
The first Australian IWD rally took place on 25 March 1928 in the Sydney Domain, organised by the Militant Women’s Movement of the Communist Party of Australia, followed by IWD marches in Sydney and Melbourne in 1931. The first Australian IWD committee was established in 1936 in Sydney and aimed at organising large rallies and raising the prominence of IWD.
Title: Centenary of International Women’s Day
Date of Issue: 15 February 2011