Police attacked women who held a 'Hunger March' down the streets of New York City in 1907. These women, who worked in the clothing industry 'sweatshops', were demanding an end to their long hours, low wages and dangerous working conditions. The following year 15,000 women garment workers held a commemorative march through the streets of New York City on March 8, 1908, also demanding an end to sweatshops and child labor and for the right to vote.
In 1910, 100 women representing seventeen countries at an International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen, Denmark voted to establish an International Women's Day on March 8, in honor of the U.S. garment worker’s march two years before. The commemorations caught on across much of the world, where International Women's Day is now a national holiday in many countries, including Russia and Ukraine, where men honor the women in their lives with flowers and small gifts. In China, many women are given a half-day off work on 8 March, as advised by the State Council.
While International Women’s Day spread throughout the world after 1910, it was lost in the United States, where March 8 was only sporadically recognized by small, local groups after its origins here in 1908. No one had held a March 8 demonstration in this country since 1947 when one woman, Laura X, founder/director of the former Women's History Library and National Clearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape, organized a demonstration in Berkeley, California, in 1969. Laura documented that by the next year, there were Women's Liberation events in thirty cities around the world on March 8, 1970, including one in Sacramento, California, which I helped organize. The wildfire spread of the International Women’s Day commemorations across the country coincided with the National Women’s History Project-led successful pressuring of Congress to declare first Women’s History Week, then Women’s History Month in 1987.
The United Nations, which formally proclaimed March 8 International Women's Day in 1975, announced their theme for 2022 as "Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow". Their events will recognize how women around the world are responding to climate change.
The International Women's Day website invites us to “Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.”
Featuring Gage Artist in Residence Griot Vanessa Johnson
A zoom discussion related to the PBS film Discovering NY Suffrage Stories. A wonderful opportunity to hear more stories of New York State's forgotten suffragists.
Video from The Colorado Chautauqua: Sally Roesch Wagner and Mohawk Clan Mother Louise Herne:
What inspired suffragists to think they could create a world where women could be agents of their own being? The surprising answer may lie with the powerful women of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois Confederacy.
Without a Whisper film Zoom discussion with Sally Roesch Wagner, Mama Bear Louise Herne, and Katsitsionni Fox.