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Today is International Women’s Day

March 8, 2005

Today is International Women’s Day
March 8, 2005 – Today is International Women’s Day, an occasion marked by women’s groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. It is a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.

The first International Women’s Day was held on March 19, 1911 in Germany, Austria, Denmark and further European countries. German women selected this date because in 1848 the Prussian king had promised the vote for women. Subsequently, over one million leaflets calling for action on the right to vote were distributed throughout Germany before this day in 1911.

International Women’s Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of history. This day is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. The idea of an International Women’s Day first arose at the turn of the century, which in the industrialized world was a period of expansion and turbulence, booming population growth and radical ideologies. Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike.

The growing international women’s movement, strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point for coordinated efforts to demand women’s rights and participation in the political and economic process.

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women’s rights.

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