International Women's Day


International Women's Day Reading List

For more than a century, 8 March has been the day to commemorate and celebrate the fight of working class and revolutionary women for a better deal and a socialist society.

Its origins are in the struggles for equal pay and decent conditions amongst women in the USA in the 19th century. On 8 March, 1857, garment workers in New York City marched and picketed, demanding improved working conditions, a ten hour day, and equal rights for women. Their ranks were broken up by the police.

Fifty-one years later, 8 March, 1908, their sisters in the needle trades in New York marched again, honouring the 1857 march, demanding the vote, and an end to sweatshops and child labour. The police were present on this occasion too.

A conference in 1910 of women involved in the Second International, adopted a proposal of the German revolutionary fighter, Klara Zetkin, to establish an International Women's Day. Russian women began to observe this on the last Sunday in February, according to the pre-revolutionary Julien calendar.

In 1917 this was the day the working women of Petrograd literally started a revolution. In protest at rising prices and food shortages, they filed into the centre of the city, calling on all fellow workers to join them. This was actually March 8th according to the (Gregorian) calendar used elsewhere in the world.

The listed books discuss the origins of women's oppression and the struggle against it

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What consequences will the economic crisis and its aftermath have for women?

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