Tuesday, March 8, 2011


This is ripped (and edited) from the Wikipedia entry, but I thought it was of interest today.

International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day is marked on March 8 every year.

Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In many regions, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day.

The first IWD was observed on 19 March 1911 in Germany following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.

An 'International Women's Day' was established. It was suggested by the important German Socialist Clara Zetkin, although no date was specified. The following year, 1911, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, on March 19.In the West, International Women's Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women's Rights and International Peace.


The day is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia.

In many countries, such as in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia, the custom of giving women flowers still prevails. Women also sometimes get gifts from their employers. Schoolchildren often bring gifts for their teachers, too.


Clara Cetkin 1857 -1933) was an influential socialist German politician and a fighter for women's rights.

Because of the ban placed on socialist activity in Germany by Bismarck in 1878, Zetkin left for Zurich in 1882 then went into exile in Paris. During her time in Paris she played an important role in the foundation of the Socialist International socialist group. She also adopted the name of her lover, the Russian revolutionary Ossip Zetkin, with whom she had two sons, Kostja and Maxim. Ossip Zetkin died in 1889. Later, Zetkin was married to the artist Georg Friedrich Zundel, eighteen years her junior, from 1899 until their breakup in 1928.

When Adolf Hitler took over power, Zetkin went into exile ... in the Soviet Union. She died there near Moscow, in 1933, aged nearly 76. She was buried by the wall of the Kremlin in Moscow.

Zetkin was memorialized on the ten mark banknote of the now-defunct German Democratic Republic (GDR).


Anyway, Happy International Women's Day!

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