Three months into the year, March is dedicated to celebrating women’s history. Eight days into Women’s History Month is International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day dates back to the early 1900s. The first ‘Women’s Day,’ organized by the Socialist Party of America, was held in New York City on February 28, 1909.
On March 19, 1911, the first International Women’s Day was held. Millions of people attended worldwide.
The success of International Women’s Day continued through World War I which began in 1914.
In 1911, Vladimir Lenin declared Woman’s Day an official Soviet Holiday. Communists in Spain and China followed in later years. The name was changed to “International Women’s Day” sometime after 1945.
1975 was named “International Women’s Year” as the United Nations General Assembly began celebrating March 8 as International Women’s Day.
“It is imperative to celebrate Women’s Day,” WMU senior, Daanneisha McDole said. “All that we do and provide should never be shadowed.”
Now, the holiday is celebrated in hundreds of countries and recognized as an official holiday in at least 20 countries.
Today, the holiday doesn’t always stay true to its political roots. Celebrations are lost in Valentine’s Day-esque acts of kindness or relegated to store discounts specifically targeted towards women.
In anticipation of International Women’s Day, some students spoke about what being a woman means to them.
McDole is proud to be a woman because of the strength it gives her.
“I’m proud to be a woman because of how strong we are, how beautiful we can be, no matter our shapes and sizes,” she said. “We can handle anything mentally, physically and emotionally and still take on anything we want to achieve.”
She believes this strength is shown in natural functions women’s bodies go through, especially childbirth.
“One of the main issues I see women face is having their voices heard,” McDole continued. “The problem is a majority of men overpowering us, doubting us at times and most importantly overlooking us because we’re women. That shouldn’t be an excuse at all, we as women are just as important in this world.”
Freshman Kaiahi Gray agrees. She feels advertisements targeted towards women and discussions on women’s rights are lost in superficial topics.
“I think girl power is pushed a lot but actual respect is not,” she said.
Western Herald will continue Women’s Month related content through March.