declaration of the Socialist International had an impact.
The following year, 1911, International Women's Day was marked
for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.
The date was March 19 and over a million men and women took
to the streets in a series of rallies. In addition to the
right to vote and to hold public office, they demanded the
right to work and an end to discrimination on the job.
Less than a
week later, on 25 March, the tragic
Triangle Fire in New York City took place. Over 140 workers,
mostly young Italian and Jewish immigrant girls working at
the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, lost their lives because
of the lack of safety measures. The Women's Trade Union League
and the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union led many
of the protests against this avoidable tragedy, including
the silent funeral march which brought together a crowd of
over 100,000 people. The Triangle Fire had a significant impact
on labour legislation and the horrible working conditions
leading up to the disaster were invoked during subsequent
observances of International Women's Day.
part of the peace movement brewing on the eve of World War
I, Russian women observed their first International Women's
Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. Elsewhere in Europe,
on or around 8 March of the following year, women held rallies
either to protest the war or to express solidarity with their
2 million Russian soldiers dead in the war, Russian women
again chose the last Sunday in February 1917 to strike for
"bread and peace". Political leaders opposed the timing of
the strike, but the women went on anyway.
rest is history: Four days later the Czar of Russia was forced
to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the
right to vote. That historic Sunday fell on 23 February on
the Julian calendar then in use in Russia, but coincided with
8 March on the Gregorian calendar used by people elsewhere.
It Happened continues..