Words by Sydney MacDonald

People all around the world are getting ready to celebrate the women in their lives for International Women’s Day. As we gather to commend the wide range of women who are breaking barriers in their respective fields, we can’t forget about the individuals who originally pioneered for the recognition of International Women’s Day. For those of us who love a good origin story, CONVICTS is bringing you the tale of how International Women’s Day came to be.

The year is 1908, and the working conditions for women in NYC was reaching an all time low. Fed up with how things were progressing the female workforce of the garment industry spearheaded what’s now known as the garment workers’ union strike. On March 8th of 1908, over 15,000 female garment workers showed up and marched through the streets of New York City.

After putting everything on the line for their economic and political rights, people finally started taking notice of the changes that needed to be made on women’s behalf. A year later the first National Women’s Day was observed in the U.S. on Feb. 28th, 1909. The day was designated by the Socialist Party of America in recognition of the garment union strike the previous year.

Even more strides continued to be made for women in the following year when a Socialist International meeting was held in Copenhagen, establishing that they too would be celebrating Women’s Day, continuing to works towards the global recognition of women’s suffrage.  

People were clearly taking note of the fact that Women’s Day was forming an international presence, because by 1911 other countries such as Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland joined in the movement of celebrating International Women’s Day.

As time went on International Women’s Day eventually found its place on the calendar in 1975 as March 8th. The holiday is now celebrated in over 100 countries around the world every year.

Aside from coming together for International Women’s Day every year, it’s also important to note all of the other moments in which women have come together since its origin. Whether it’s been for the Women’s March, the #metoo movement, reproductive rights, or pushing for equality in the workforce, women have continued to work together for over a century.

These historical strides can’t be taken lightly, which is why the women of CONVICTS are bringing you an entire week of female driven content to celebrate accomplishments that the unity of women continues to produce, and to give you a look into the lives of some of the women we admire most.