The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

March 8:
International Day for the Struggle of Women

Mar 7, 2011

In 1910, militants belonging to the Second International took up the proposition of the German Socialist leader, Clara Zetkin, in which one day in March is set aside to commemorate the international struggle of women to defend their rights and demands. This meant first of all to organize the fight of women for equality and the right to vote.

In 1920, the Communist International set March 8 as the date for this international day of struggle. On March 8, 1917, the workers of Petrograd had organized a demonstration demanding peace, bread and to bring the soldiers home. This demonstration actually began the Russian Revolution.

Since then, in the richest countries, women have conquered the same legal rights as men, but often, these rights are only on paper. Women with similar qualifications continue to be paid less than men. Women are hit harder by unemployment and underemployment. And women often do not have the right to get time off with pay when they have a child. So, the women’s struggle has continued.

In other parts of the world, women are forced to exhibit their oppression by covering themselves from head to toe. Other women are stoned to death or murdered, when they are accused of adultery. And young girls continue to be circumcised.

Everywhere, women are the victims of violence by men, starting with men from their own family. In the United States in 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner. That’s an average of three every single day.

So, the struggle to gain and respect the rights of all women continues, and March 8 remains the international day to mark that struggle, which goes on every single day.