International Women's Day 2008

Declaration

Today, 8 March 2008, Socialist International Women proudly celebrates International Women's Day.

The concept of an International Women's Day was formed in the early part of the 20th century when many demonstrations over poor working conditions began to take place. Most notably on 8 March 1908, fifteen thousand women took to the streets of New York City in protest to demand shorter working hours, better pay, the right to vote and an end to child labour. They adopted the slogan "Bread and Roses," the bread symbolising economic security whilst the word roses stood for a better quality of life.

This protest, together with many others, was the inspiration which led the Second International Conference of Socialist Women (now the Socialist International Women) in Copenhagen in 1910, to adopt a resolution demanding a day in the year to commemorate International Women's Day. As a result of the decision taken at Copenhagen, one year later an International Women's Day was established for the first time in many European countries, including Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland and throughout the years, many more countries were to follow.

The Socialist International Women, from its very beginning, has always advocated for women to participate in politics, but unfortunately there is still a long way to go. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) women's representation in national parliaments is only a mere 17.3% worldwide, and in cabinet positions the percentage of women ministers is even lower. For this reason, International Women's Day, should be a day to encourage women and men to continue the struggle for democracy and equality for all.

The United Nations (UN) has also played an important role in shaping International Women's Day. In 1975, during International Women's Year, the UN began celebrating 8 March as International Women's Day. Two years later, in December 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

The International Women's Day is also a day to honour those women who have stood out and who have shown courage in the struggle for an equal world for all. It is on this occasion that the Socialist International Women would like to pay tribute to Benazir Bhutto – a political leader who dedicated her life to peace and democracy in Pakistan and who showed enormous courage in returning to her country to participate in the elections, knowing fully well the challenges and dangers that awaited her and sadly cost her her life.

On International Women's Day it is also vital to highlight the end to violence against women. Violence against women is not acceptable, can never be justified and cannot be tolerated. For this very reason Socialist International Women supports the UN campaign 'Unite to End Violence Against Women' launched by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, on the occasion of the 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, in New York, 25 February 2008. This campaign will continue until 2015 to coincide with the target date for the Millennium Development Goals.

To conclude, Socialist International Women strongly believes that International Women's Day is a global day to come together to celebrate women's diversity and the progress that has been achieved so far. It is also a day to honour those women who have made a difference and a day to inspire women and men to continue the struggle for peace, democracy, justice and equality for all.

 

News

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25 November 2017

Socialist International Women affirms its support for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women as an opportunity to focus on the continuing suffering and oppression of women and girls worldwide, and the vital roles that governments and individuals have in creating positive change...

Council Meeting

Barcelona, Spain, 21 and 22 November 2017

Democracy in Crisis, Populism on the Rise - Where do Women's Rights fit in?

Council Meeting

United Nations, New York, 14 July 2017

Rural Areas, Media and ICT - New Challenges and More Opportunities for Women’s Empowerment

In Memory of Carmen Chacón

13 March 1971 - 09 April 2017

The Socialist International Women was deeply saddened to receive the news of the death of Carmen Chacón on 09 April 2017 at the age of 46 years...

Council Meeting and XXI Congress

25 - 27 February 2017

Gender Inequality in the World Today – Understanding the New Challenges and Ending Gender Inequality by 2030

UN Climate Change Conference 2016

Conference of the Parties (COP22), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Marrakech, Morroco, 07 to 18 November 2016

Parallel event hosted by the Socialist International Women (SIW), the Forum of the African Women Post 2015 and Jossour Forum of the Moroccan Women, Bab Ighli Site, Green Zone, 14 November 2016

Former SI President António Guterres to become next UN Secretary General

06 October 2016

The Socialist International Women (SIW) would like to congratulate António Guterres on being chosen as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Council Meeting

28 and 29 June 2016

The UN Sustainable Development Goals – Gender Sensitive Budgeting and Climate Change

Publications

The First Hundred Years

A Short History of Socialist International Women

By Irmtraut Karlsson

This book tells the history of the first one hundred years of the Socialist International Women

END