Did you know that International Women’s Day, celebrated last week on March 8th, originated as a celebration of female contributions to the labor movement?
I assumed that the day had been founded somewhat recently, until I read this history and discovered that International Women’s Day’s history goes back over 100 years!
As the article explains, “In 1910 at the Second International, a world wide socialist party congress, German socialist Clara Zetkin proposed that March 8th be proclaimed International Women’s Day, to commemorate the US demonstrations and honor working women the world over. Zetkin, a renowned revolutionary theoretician who argued with Lenin on women’s rights, was considered a grave threat to the European governments of her time; the Kaiser called her ‘the most dangerous sorceress in the empire.’”
(That also happens to be the most badass epithet I’ve ever heard in my life.)
For me, this information gives a whole new meaning to the idea of International Women’s Day. I love that it started as a way to celebrate women as activists, because like so many other struggles, “[t]he labor struggle in the US is an exciting one, but it traditionally concentrates on men. A little examination shows that women carried their weight and their share from the beginning, both supporting the men’s organizing and quite soon, after realizing that women’s needs were ignored in the existing unions, forming women’s caucuses or all women’s unions.”
Of course, the day has since evolved to recognize women’s struggles of all types and at various intersections of identity. That is certainly something to celebrate every day – and hopefully it continues to spur our activism, so that we can all be considered the most dangerous of sorceresses.