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International Women's Day is today

Posted by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 10:19 AM
  • 11 Replies

What is International Women’s Day?

Google celebrates International Women’s Day with a doodle of women from around the world. Many will honor advancements for women’s rights Friday, but how familiar are people with its history?

By Steph Solis / March 8, 2013

After more than 100 years, International Women’s Day draws millions to commemorate the advancements made in human rights and to discuss the challenges women continue to face in politics, education, employment, and other areas of daily life.

However, International Women’s Day originally commemorated the working rights protests led by female garment workers. Many seem to forget the holiday’s ties to the working rights movement in the United States and the Socialist Party. 

The origins of the holiday can be traced back to March 8, 1857, when garment workers in New York City staged a protest against inhumane working conditions and low wages, according to the United Nations. The police attacked the protesters and dispersed them, but the movement continued and led to the creation of the first women’s labor union.

Fast forward to March 8, 1908: 15,000 women marched in New York City for shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights, and an end to child labor.  The slogan “Bread and Roses” emerged, with bread symbolizing economic security and roses for better living standards. 

Many of those who protested for working rights were young immigrants from Europe, who came to the United States seeking better opportunities, says Carol Rosenblatt of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. 

“Workers in this country also died in their efforts to advance workers’ rights, but they weren’t fearful in the same way that they were in some of the countries that they came from,” says Ms. Rosenblatt, executive director of the coalition. “They had a much different expectation than when they got here. They were exploited.”

That May 1908, the Socialist Party of America declared that the last Sunday in February would be National Women’s Day. The first National Women’s Day was celebrated on Feb. 28, 1909 in the United States.

International Women’s Day (then International Working Women’s Day) was introduced during the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Denmark. Clara Zetkin, a German socialist, suggested a holiday honoring the strike of garment workers in the United States. The proposal received unanimous approval from the 100 women from 17 countries.

The proposal did not give a fixed date of observance, but in the first years International Women’s Day was observed on different days in March. In 1911, Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland supported the holiday on March 19, with more than a million men and women rallying.

Shortly after, however, women gathered in light of a tragedy. The Triangle Waist Company building in New York City caught fire in March 25, killing 146 young immigrant workers.

The incident, which drew attention to the inhuman working conditions for industrial workers, prompted the Women’s Trade Union League and the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union to stage demonstrations. One protest, a silent funeral march, drew more than 100,000 people.

The incident led to the creation of the Factory Investigating Commission, which included Francis Perkins, who would become the first female secretary of labor, and labor union activists.

The commission's findings led to several laws in New York that mandated safety standards, minimum wage, unemployment assistance, and support for workers when they grow old. These laws paved the way for President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal legislation.

“It brought to light the way in which people were working and the horrific situations that people were enduring,” Rosenblatt says. “That was just one of many fires.” 

While there have been advancements, Rosenblatt says, women continue to fight against poor working conditions and lower wages around the world.

“There are fires in Bangladesh today in factories that are owned by American countries,” she says. “It has not gone resolved.”

by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 10:19 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Sisteract
by Socialist Hippie on Mar. 8, 2013 at 10:26 AM
1 mom liked this

My daughter's school is having a potluck to celebrate- We were overstaffed today, so since I've been sick, I took time off- I doubt my place of business is doing anything for this day- we are about an 80% female staff.

nanaofsix531
by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Go ladies!

KamWorthy
by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 11:25 AM
I won't be acknowledging such a gender biased day.I would rather recognize International Human Being Day. A day that recognizes achievements made by both genders.
romalove
by SenseandSensibility on Mar. 8, 2013 at 11:27 AM

I am now an International Woman of Mystery so this is my day.

Yay!

JakeandEmmasMom
by Gold Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 11:32 AM

 We've come a long way, baby.

Still, we have far to go.

KamWorthy
by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 11:43 AM
As human beings we have all come a long way baby,, and still have far to go. *Sparks up a Virgina Slim*
PamR
by Platinum Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 1:03 PM
1 mom liked this



Quoting romalove:

I am now an International Woman of Mystery so this is my day.

Yay!

You go Roma!


Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 4:33 PM
Quoting KamWorthy:

I won't be acknowledging such a gender biased day.I would rather recognize International Human Being Day. A day that recognizes achievements made by both genders.

So, is International Women’s Day the Chinese equivalent of our President’s day, a holiday that is mostly meaningful because you get a day off work? Or do the women of China, often seen as equal to men, celebrate it with more significance? We took to the streets to find out.

Name: Jasmine Chen
Native of: Liaoning
Age: 29
Profession: Jazz vocalist/pianist

CNNGo: Is International Women's Day important to Chinese women?

Jasmine Chen:
Yes, because it has symbolic significance.

CNNGo: Do you think Chinese women are seen as equal to men in China?

Jasmine Chen:
In big cities, women are quite equal to men. But in the countryside, men have higher status then women.

CNNGo: How has the social status of Chinese women changed from your grandmother’s to your mother’s generation and to yours?

Jasmine Chen:
In my grandmother’s generation, women had little power. From my mom’s generation, they had the ability to make many more decisions. Still, when it came to choosing careers and husbands, men always had the final say. But I get to make all the decisions in my life.

Actually I didn’t want to be a nu qiang ren [a 'superwoman': a woman who is independent and successful in her career but still single], I wanted to be with a superman, but since that hasn’t happened yet, I’ve been forced to be this strong!

CNNGo: Is there a limit to what Chinese women can do?

Jasmine Chen:
No. It’s about how hard you can work, not gender or race.

CNNGo: What do you plan to do on International Women's Day?

Jasmine Chen:
It’s my mother’s birthday, so we’ll go shopping and I’ll treat her to a nice dinner.

Name: Pan Tangxie
Native of: Shanghai
Age: 48
Profession: Government representative, Changning District

CNNGo: Is International Women's Day important to Chinese women?

Pan Tangxie:
Yes, there are not many other holidays that honor women. People are more respectful to [women] on that day.

CNNGo: Do you think Chinese women are seen as equal to men in China?

Pan Tangxie:
From an economic, family and political perspective, it’s equal. That’s especially true for Shanghai. We joke that women here are lifting two-thirds of the sky, while men are lifting one-third! But really, Shanghainese men are just very respectful and nice enough to give in to women’s wishes.

CNNGo: How has the social status of Chinese women changed from your grandmother’s to your mother’s generation and to yours?

Pan Tangxie:
Our grandmothers' generation of women had no power in society. When their husbands died, they had to listen to their sons. My mom’s generation basically was told that as women, they couldn’t compare to men. Now the education is different. If it’s not that women and men are equal, it’s that we are better! To us [Shanghainese] having a girl is a very happy event -- they are more cute and obedient. Who needs naughty boys?

CNNGo: Is there a limit to what Chinese women can do?

Pan Tangxie:
There is a limit on what anyone can do, whether they are men or women.

CNNGo: What do you plan to do on International Women's Day?

Pan Tangxie:
I’ll be off to KTV and a nice dinner with my colleagues.

Name: “Xiao Pengke” (Little Punk)
Native of: Jiangxi
Age: 22
Profession: Rock star, vocalist of Boys Climbing Ropes

CNNGo: Do you think International Women's Day is important to Chinese women?

Little Punk:
Symbolically, yes. But it mattered to me more when I was in school, when we got half days off. Back then we were filled with gratitude to every woman in China!

CNNGo: Are Chinese women seen as equal to men in China?

Little Punk:
How can you measure something like equality? You really can’t. But I have a theory that the more people get along in one place, the more equal the people are. So I’d say men and women are pretty equal in Shanghai.

CNNGo: How has the social status of Chinese women changed from your grandmother’s to your mother’s generation and to yours?

Little Punk:
I’m certain that the women of my parents and my grandparents’ generations were happier than mine. Many things were arranged for them, but now, every woman has to make her own choices and find her own way in the world.

CNNGo: Who wears the pants in Chinese relationships?

Little Punk:
The person who is less attached of course! It doesn't have anything to do with gender.

CNNGo: What do you plan to do on International Women's Day?

Little Punk:
Work.

Name: Kiki Qi
Native of: Shanghai
Age: 27
Profession: Waitress at Issimo

CNNGo: Do you think International Women's Day is important to Chinese women?

Kiki Qi:
Yes it is very important. I remember, when I was a kid, my mom’s danwei [work unit] would give her a day off and a present just for her, even though, at that time, nobody had much to share. That never happened during Chinese New Year or other holidays.

CNNGo: Are Chinese women seen as equal to men in this society?

Kiki Qi:
I can’t say so for all women, but for me personally, I never look down at myself in comparison to men. I think it is because my parents didn’t try to raise me to fit in with other girls, they just taught me practical skills and how to be an honest person.

CNNGo: Who wears the pants in Chinese relationships?

Kiki Qi:
In Shanghai, it’s definitely the women. I got feedback from some male colleagues who come from other parts of China, and it seems that their girlfriends will buy shoes or gifts for them. But that would never happened in Shanghai. No way, men only give presents here.

CNNGo: How has the social status of Chinese women changed from your grandmother’s to your mother’s generation and to yours?

Kiki Qi:
My grandma was very old-fashioned. She raised four children, had no job and was committed to spending the rest of her life with my grandpa no matter what. With my mom, when she saw my dad do something wrong, she would never say anything in front of the family so he could save face. But I’d never let a man keep me quiet like that!

CNNGo: What do you plan to do on International Women's Day?

Kiki Qi:
First of all, I’ll call one of my guy friends, mention that it is International Women’s Day and drop a hint that I deserve something!

Name: Yang Jingyi
Native of: Shanghai, China
Age: 52
Profession: Elementary school teacher

CNNGo: Do you think International Women's Day is important to Chinese women?

Yang Jingyi:
Yes, of course.

CNNGo: Are Chinese women seen as equal to men in China?

Yang Jingyi:
There’s still a difference. I feel that men can find jobs more easily. In the countryside, women are just there to support men, but in the big cities, it is closer to equal.

CNNGo: How has the social status of Chinese women changed from your grandmother’s to your mother’s generation and to yours?

Yang Jingyi:
You have to talk about women's status in terms of before and after the Cultural Revolution. From my grandma’s generation (pre-CR) to my mother’s generation (post-CR), women gained a lot more decision-making ability. In these modern times, females are more and more valued by society.

CNNGo: What do you plan to do on International Women's Day?

Yang Jingyi:
I plan to enjoy myself, watch a movie and do a little shopping around the neighborhood with my co-workers.

Name: Wang Lili
Native of: Henan
Profession: Novelist
Age: Twenties

CNNGo: Do you think International Women's Day is important to Chinese women?

Wang Lili:
No.

CNNGo: Do you think the image of Shanghainese women as dominant over their men is a good or a bad thing?

Wang Lili:
It’s not good, but at the same time, it makes Shanghai one of best places for Chinese women to live in. Shanghai is a city for women, but, as everybody knows, women in Shanghai are not really friendly.

CNNGo: How has the social status of Chinese women changed from your grandmother’s to your mother’s generation and to yours?

Wang Lili:
My grandma and my mom lived in the countryside, as I did before. But now I live in a global village. They couldn’t choose their husbands, but they got good husbands by accident. I can find a husband from anywhere in the world, but I haven’t got one so far.

CNNGo: What do you plan to do on International Women's Day?

Wang Lili:
What I’ve been doing every day: feed my stomach with good, home-cooked food, feed my eyes with green trees and plants, feed my nose with the fabulous smell of flowers in the city’s free parks, feed my ears with music, give myself a massage and request a deep sleep from the God of sleep.

LIMom1105
by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM
Mine did absolutely nothing, and we have about 80% women too. But then there is never anything, not even a holiday party so this is no different.

Quoting Sisteract:

My daughter's school is having a potluck to celebrate- We were overstaffed today, so since I've been sick, I took time off- I doubt my place of business is doing anything for this day- we are about an 80% female staff.

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
KamWorthy
by on Mar. 9, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Cool.
Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting KamWorthy:

I won't be acknowledging such a gender biased day.I would rather recognize International Human Being Day. A day that recognizes achievements made by both genders.

So, is International Women’s Day the Chinese equivalent of our President’s day, a holiday that is mostly meaningful because you get a day off work? Or do the women of China, often seen as equal to men, celebrate it with more significance? We took to the streets to find out.

Name: Jasmine Chen
Native of: Liaoning
Age: 29
Profession: Jazz vocalist/pianist

CNNGo: Is International Women's Day important to Chinese women?

Jasmine Chen:
Yes, because it has symbolic significance.

CNNGo: Do you think Chinese women are seen as equal to men in China?

Jasmine Chen:
In big cities, women are quite equal to men. But in the countryside, men have higher status then women.

CNNGo: How has the social status of Chinese women changed from your grandmother’s to your mother’s generation and to yours?

Jasmine Chen:
In my grandmother’s generation, women had little power. From my mom’s generation, they had the ability to make many more decisions. Still, when it came to choosing careers and husbands, men always had the final say. But I get to make all the decisions in my life.

Actually I didn’t want to be a nu qiang ren [a 'superwoman': a woman who is independent and successful in her career but still single], I wanted to be with a superman, but since that hasn’t happened yet, I’ve been forced to be this strong!

CNNGo: Is there a limit to what Chinese women can do?

Jasmine Chen:
No. It’s about how hard you can work, not gender or race.

CNNGo: What do you plan to do on International Women's Day?

Jasmine Chen:
It’s my mother’s birthday, so we’ll go shopping and I’ll treat her to a nice dinner.

Name: Pan Tangxie
Native of: Shanghai
Age: 48
Profession: Government representative, Changning District

CNNGo: Is International Women's Day important to Chinese women?

Pan Tangxie:
Yes, there are not many other holidays that honor women. People are more respectful to [women] on that day.

CNNGo: Do you think Chinese women are seen as equal to men in China?

Pan Tangxie:
From an economic, family and political perspective, it’s equal. That’s especially true for Shanghai. We joke that women here are lifting two-thirds of the sky, while men are lifting one-third! But really, Shanghainese men are just very respectful and nice enough to give in to women’s wishes.

CNNGo: How has the social status of Chinese women changed from your grandmother’s to your mother’s generation and to yours?

Pan Tangxie:
Our grandmothers' generation of women had no power in society. When their husbands died, they had to listen to their sons. My mom’s generation basically was told that as women, they couldn’t compare to men. Now the education is different. If it’s not that women and men are equal, it’s that we are better! To us [Shanghainese] having a girl is a very happy event -- they are more cute and obedient. Who needs naughty boys?

CNNGo: Is there a limit to what Chinese women can do?

Pan Tangxie:
There is a limit on what anyone can do, whether they are men or women.

CNNGo: What do you plan to do on International Women's Day?

Pan Tangxie:
I’ll be off to KTV and a nice dinner with my colleagues.

Name: “Xiao Pengke” (Little Punk)
Native of: Jiangxi
Age: 22
Profession: Rock star, vocalist of Boys Climbing Ropes

CNNGo: Do you think International Women's Day is important to Chinese women?

Little Punk:
Symbolically, yes. But it mattered to me more when I was in school, when we got half days off. Back then we were filled with gratitude to every woman in China!

CNNGo: Are Chinese women seen as equal to men in China?

Little Punk:
How can you measure something like equality? You really can’t. But I have a theory that the more people get along in one place, the more equal the people are. So I’d say men and women are pretty equal in Shanghai.

CNNGo: How has the social status of Chinese women changed from your grandmother’s to your mother’s generation and to yours?

Little Punk:
I’m certain that the women of my parents and my grandparents’ generations were happier than mine. Many things were arranged for them, but now, every woman has to make her own choices and find her own way in the world.

CNNGo: Who wears the pants in Chinese relationships?

Little Punk:
The person who is less attached of course! It doesn't have anything to do with gender.

CNNGo: What do you plan to do on International Women's Day?

Little Punk:
Work.

Name: Kiki Qi
Native of: Shanghai
Age: 27
Profession: Waitress at Issimo

CNNGo: Do you think International Women's Day is important to Chinese women?

Kiki Qi:
Yes it is very important. I remember, when I was a kid, my mom’s danwei [work unit] would give her a day off and a present just for her, even though, at that time, nobody had much to share. That never happened during Chinese New Year or other holidays.

CNNGo: Are Chinese women seen as equal to men in this society?

Kiki Qi:
I can’t say so for all women, but for me personally, I never look down at myself in comparison to men. I think it is because my parents didn’t try to raise me to fit in with other girls, they just taught me practical skills and how to be an honest person.

CNNGo: Who wears the pants in Chinese relationships?

Kiki Qi:
In Shanghai, it’s definitely the women. I got feedback from some male colleagues who come from other parts of China, and it seems that their girlfriends will buy shoes or gifts for them. But that would never happened in Shanghai. No way, men only give presents here.

CNNGo: How has the social status of Chinese women changed from your grandmother’s to your mother’s generation and to yours?

Kiki Qi:
My grandma was very old-fashioned. She raised four children, had no job and was committed to spending the rest of her life with my grandpa no matter what. With my mom, when she saw my dad do something wrong, she would never say anything in front of the family so he could save face. But I’d never let a man keep me quiet like that!

CNNGo: What do you plan to do on International Women's Day?

Kiki Qi:
First of all, I’ll call one of my guy friends, mention that it is International Women’s Day and drop a hint that I deserve something!

Name: Yang Jingyi
Native of: Shanghai, China
Age: 52
Profession: Elementary school teacher

CNNGo: Do you think International Women's Day is important to Chinese women?

Yang Jingyi:
Yes, of course.

CNNGo: Are Chinese women seen as equal to men in China?

Yang Jingyi:
There’s still a difference. I feel that men can find jobs more easily. In the countryside, women are just there to support men, but in the big cities, it is closer to equal.

CNNGo: How has the social status of Chinese women changed from your grandmother’s to your mother’s generation and to yours?

Yang Jingyi:
You have to talk about women's status in terms of before and after the Cultural Revolution. From my grandma’s generation (pre-CR) to my mother’s generation (post-CR), women gained a lot more decision-making ability. In these modern times, females are more and more valued by society.

CNNGo: What do you plan to do on International Women's Day?

Yang Jingyi:
I plan to enjoy myself, watch a movie and do a little shopping around the neighborhood with my co-workers.

Name: Wang Lili
Native of: Henan
Profession: Novelist
Age: Twenties

CNNGo: Do you think International Women's Day is important to Chinese women?

Wang Lili:
No.

CNNGo: Do you think the image of Shanghainese women as dominant over their men is a good or a bad thing?

Wang Lili:
It’s not good, but at the same time, it makes Shanghai one of best places for Chinese women to live in. Shanghai is a city for women, but, as everybody knows, women in Shanghai are not really friendly.

CNNGo: How has the social status of Chinese women changed from your grandmother’s to your mother’s generation and to yours?

Wang Lili:
My grandma and my mom lived in the countryside, as I did before. But now I live in a global village. They couldn’t choose their husbands, but they got good husbands by accident. I can find a husband from anywhere in the world, but I haven’t got one so far.

CNNGo: What do you plan to do on International Women's Day?

Wang Lili:
What I’ve been doing every day: feed my stomach with good, home-cooked food, feed my eyes with green trees and plants, feed my nose with the fabulous smell of flowers in the city’s free parks, feed my ears with music, give myself a massage and request a deep sleep from the God of sleep.

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You must be a member to reply to this post.
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