March 8 True History - What Is the Meaning of Women's Day?

Since the earliest times, throughout history, long before there were even glimpses of women having their independence day, let alone specified date as March 8, females have been considered worthless, meaningless and had been oppressed all around the world. Degraded position of gender mostly ensued from its physical inferiority. In some cultures, like it was the case with Celts, female slaves were used as a general unit of value. If we take Ireland as an example, Cumal was the term for referring to a woman slave and expressing the price of other objects on the market. For instance, a man could offer four “cumals” for a horse.

Oppresion of women skatch
Oppression of Ladies

International Women’s Day – March 8

International Womens Day History Facts And Gift- Virginia Burns

As societies have evolved towards what we today observe as modern civilization, human rights started to develop and split into many fractions invented for the protection of specified groups. One of those groups was ladies. International women’s day celebrated on March 8th, is just the peak of the iceberg that goes deep into the past reaching the mare cradle of human civilization – Mesopotamia. However, analyzing women’s rights through history is an overbroad quest that would branch us to another direction before reaching the point of interest. That is why we will keep track of international women’s day from the moment it first occurred.


Find out how women lived in Viking socieites…

First Women’s Day – Why do we celebrate it on 8th March?

Garment Workers Protest in New York - 1857
Females Protesting for Their Rights

The trigger for the birth of Women’s day took place in 1857. On March 8th in New York City, ladies employed as garment workers assembled to protest and expressed their dissatisfaction with inhumane working conditions they had to face on a daily basis for minimal wages. This event ended with police intervention. Many women were arrested and some were even trampled by the male crowd. Luckily, dispersing single assembly with brute force just boosted the fighting spirit of the ladies who continued to stride towards their rights which eventually led to the emergence of international women’s day. Interesting thing is that some historians negate the event stating that it has never really happened.

Garment Women Didn’t Protest – Says Francoise Picq French Historian

Franciose claims that seamstresses actually never went out on the streets. As arguments to his statement, this French historian gives us the fact that not a single newspaper in the U.S. wrote anything about women protesting, let alone police implementing violence over female usurpers. In addition to this, the famous historian also explains how and why did this myth emerge in 1955. According to his words, that period gave a good chance to detach International Women’s Day from its Soviet roots in order to give it a more international origin that surpasses Bolshevism and has more spontaneousness than a decision of a Congress or the initiative of women affiliated to the Party…” Briefly explained, the inspiration for women’s rights was given a better muse.

The First Eight March Was In February

Russian February Revolution - The Cradle of March 8
Russian February Revolution – The Cradle of March 8
The Russian Revolution

Russian used Julian calendar which named their famous revolution February. However, by the tame calculations accepted by most states in the world, it was on March 8th, 1917, that the protests and riots have started in St. Petersburg(Petrograd). The Russian feminist Alexandra Kollontai was the leader of the movement considered to be the trigger for the chain of events that eventually led to the Emperor’s abdication. Rampage on a mass scale was caused by the shortage of food and a large number of deaths in World War one which was coming to an end. Being one of the largest and strongest countries in the world, Russia was and is a state which will, trough any change or event, affect the rest of the planet. Having 8 march known as the date of February revolution would strip the inspirational power of Women’s Rights incorporated into the women’s international day. Therefore, says Franciose, it was required to invent another source in order to separate origins and make clear distinctions between sources of aspirations.

News is Not Reality – Not Everything That Happens is Recorded on Paper

The title speaks for itself as it is the most rational opposition for claims orientated to represent garment protests as another myth. Here are some facts about women’s position in American society during the 19th century:

  • Women weren’t allowed to vote.
  • 12 hours of working time.
  • Increased loads.
  • Being a female meant a lower salary.
  • The sexual exploitation of women’s labor strength was both wide and daily occurrence.
  • Beating women wasn’t an offense that would inevitably lead to severe punishment.
  • High positions in both state and private departments were usually reserved for men.

After taking these facts into consideration, it is more than clear why no newspapers wrote about women protests. In the end, which repressor would take and publish notes about his doings?

The Importance of March 8th – Why?

Whichever story you decide to consider for the truth, the importance of the day known in the context of Women’s rights cannot be disputed. The answer to the question of why is the 8th march so meaningful is simple: “It is token of civilization advance and a spirit of true freedom.” With or without the protest of 1857, movement of ladies seeking rights blossomed in the 20th century.

The First International Women’s Day

International women's day
Activists of the feminist movement march in Saint Petersburg

According to records of formal history, the first gathering intended for observing the international women’s day took place on March 8th, 1907 in New York. Organizers put a lot of effort to move the event for Sunday so that all working women would be able to attend. This event was established 50 years after garment ladies had their protest(or not) shuttered in violence as a celebration of the female rights movement. Ever since the celebrations had started taking place on an annual basis, and soon spread all around the world. Four years later Europe joined the “women’s club”. On March 19th, 1911 more than one million people sprawled over the Europian towns supporting the cause of women’s rights and attributes that eventually led to the emergence of feminists movements. In the same year, wanting to express the recognition of its importance, Vladimir Lenin, founder of Russia’s Communist Party, declared Woman’s Day an official Soviet holiday.

Ladies Stronger Then World War One

Soon after the first observations of march 8th, the world has fallen into the limbo of world war I. During those times almost every movement regarding fighting for rights was put on halt. Put an emphasis on the almost as ladies were one of the rarest cases of groups continuing to stride towards their non-military causes. The greatest example of ladies protesting during wartime was the start of the already mentioned February Revolution(8 march according to the western calendar). However, what has not been stated in the previous part of the article is that Alexandra Kollontai managed to persuade the provisional government to grant suffrage to women. Russia became the first country of great power to grant ladies the right to vote. America was a couple of years late as it was only in 1920 that suffrage was given to women on a national scale.

More Interesting Facts

There are a few unexpected facts when it comes to women’s day.

  • In order to avoid confusion, the previous part of the article addressed the object of the topic as “Women’s day”. However, in the beginning, it was called Woman’s Day. Plural pushed out singular almost a century after the idea showed up(around 1945).
  • Communists were the first to adopt the tradition and proclaim it for the national holiday. After Lenin brought the decision in the name of Russia, communists in Spain and China adopted the holiday as well.
  • Commercialism is responsible for striping the political context of the holiday. Argentina is the place where this phenomenon started as the core of focus during the women’s day was moved from the question of rights and politics towards men buying flowers and presenting gentleness to women.

March 8 Commercialism – Wierd Traditions

All around the world in more the 100 countries March 8th is celebrated differently. In some places, customs are relatively expected as men by flowers to women and take them out for dinner. However, there are places in which people do really weird things like men wearing heels.

China and Women’s International Day

Men climbing a mountain in heels
Men climbing a mountain in heels to pay respect to women on international women’s day

In China, March 8 is a federal holiday. Women are allowed to work half of the time of their regular shifts so they could take some time to celebrate. Unfortunately, female workers in China don’t enjoy such good working positions and rights which is why formal rights are rarely applied. Yet, there is way more to occurrences in China relating this holiday. In 2016, men in the country’s Guangdong province made it to the world news. They wore dresses and stilettos to climb a mountain on International Women’s Day. When asked why they have chosen to implement such an act, men explained that they wanted to pay respect to all the ladies through fealing hardships women are faced with on a daily basis.

Russian Tradition

in Russia, International Women’s Day is something like Valentine’s doppelganger. It is a usual occasion to see men buying flowers a few days in advance as a day before March 8, prices of bouquets go double. What is very interesting about Russia is that celebrations occur not just in workplaces but even in classrooms. Schoolboys are thought and kind of obligated to throw celebrations for the girls in their class. 

Italy

Mimosa blossoms are the symbol of March 8 in Italy. It is the most prominent and the occurring present that men give to ladies on this holiday. The flower possesses a similar symbolic gesture of love as a red rose on Valentine’s Day.

International Man Day

As ladies require gentlemen to achieve the full potential of what they are, to give even higher tribute to their day, we are going to mention the holiday reserved for men.

Men’s Day – November 19

Not widespread as Women’s Day, the event called the Men’s Day is celebrated in over 80 countries. The celebration takes place on 19th November and is followed by the children’s day which allows the celebration to last for a full 48 hours. The basic foundation of male’s day is a promotion and paying tribute to core values such as family life, honest work, etc… While ladies have unquestionably, throughout history, been victims way more than men, it is important to remind ourselves of the fact that males take an equally large and important role in preserving the beauty of life in this world.

The Establishment of Man’s Day

International Men’s Day was established in 1999 by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh a history lecturer at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad Tobago. One of the main reasons for the invention of this event was the professor’s wish to spread the acknowledgment about many problems men face. One of the astonishing facts is that the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 is suicide. This is a strong indicator of mental health being a critical component of modern males. Mane topics of Men’s Day are the questions of positive role-modeling, mental-health, and toxic muscularity.

Topic Of Suicide

Shadow of a man intending to commit suicide by hanging
Suicide Shadow
Reasons to Stay Alive

A lot of talk about suicide and other mental health problems takes place on this day. By scientific explorations conducted over U.K. suicide history, it is three times more likely for men to take their own life than women. That is why a holiday is used to promote so-called suicide lines. These are the phone numbers you can call from any place at any time if the dark self-destructive thoughts are overwhelming you. The topic is usually followed by role modeling discussions as well as questions of self-esteem and self-satisfaction. The inability to identify himself with the features of an ideal man promoted by mass media is the usual trigger for the beginning of the depression. Therefore, different points of view are spread.

It is important for men to realize that role models proclaimed by mass media have nothing to do with true male qualities and norms for someone to become a decent role model for himself and his younglins.

This quote in many different forms is repeated by many psychologists that try to point out the negativities and sickness that the attributes of famous individuals have within them.

Toxic Muscularity

Toxic muscularity is one of the best examples. The enormously large chests together with bicepses and tricepses may look good, but might actually be terrible. Such looks might require men to take substances which can lead them to dozens of both physical and mental problems. Therefore, being a good and reliable person is an attribute that can bring much more joy and usefulness to life.

To be happy, you must love yourself for who you are.

This is one of the traditional messages circulating between Men’s and Women’s International Days.

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