International Women’s Day Why International Women’s Day is celebrated

On March 8, International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. Here you can find out how this day came about and why it is still necessary today.

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8th. Demonstrators and activists have been campaigning for gender equality for many years. The achievements of the women’s rights movement are celebrated and attention is drawn to the problems that still exist.

The Origin of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day goes back to the equal rights movement at the beginning of the 20th century and was established in 1911. In 1908 the women of the Socialist Party in America held a national day of struggle for women’s suffrage. These actions also inspired women in other countries to initiate a day to remember their rights.

At the Second International Socialist Women’s Conference in 1910, 100 delegates from 17 countries decided to introduce an annual International Women’s Day. The main focus was on women’s suffrage, which at that time did not exist in many countries.

International Women’s Day was also initiated in Germany afterwards and celebrated for the first time in 1911. The Social Democrats Clara Zetkin and K├Ąte Duncker were pioneers in this regard.

After the day was suppressed and banned by the Nazi regime, it resurfaced in Germany in the 1960s. In 1975, International Women’s Day was finally institutionalized by the United Nations.

In addition to the terms International Women’s Day and International Women’s Day, March 8 is often referred to as Women’s Day of Struggle or Feminist Day of Struggle. This is to show the urgency of the day. The designation as a feminist day of struggle is also recommended in order not to conceptually exclude trans people and non-binary people.

This is how International Women’s Day is celebrated in Germany

In Germany, International Women’s Day is now celebrated with numerous campaigns that stand up for women’s rights. Various alliances are calling for demonstrations and rallies. The day is now also being picked up on in social media or by companies.

In Berlin it has been a public holiday since 2019. In 2023 it should also be ready in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Even today, on International Women’s Day, there are demonstrations for issues such as fair wages, maternity protection and the right to legal abortions. Attention is also often drawn to the importance of intersectional feminism.

Intersectional feminism deals with the different reasons people are discriminated against. The term is intended to indicate that different forms of discrimination can also overlap and reinforce each other. As an explanation, it is often given that a heterosexual woman without experience of racism experiences different discrimination than, for example, a homosexual woman with experience of racism.

UN Woman explains intersectional feminism thus: “An intersectional feminism focuses on the voices of those who experience overlapping, simultaneous forms of oppression to comprehend the depths of inequalities and the relationships between them in each context.”

Women are not yet treated equally in many parts of society

But although equal rights for women and men are laid down in Article 3, Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law, the sexes are still not equal in Germany.

In many parts of society, women are not represented, even though they make up at least half of the population in Germany. Only 35 percent of the German Bundestag is made up of women. There is also still a lack of women in management positions in companies. According to the Federal Statistical Office, only 28 percent of management positions will be held by women in 2020. This puts Germany in the lower third compared to other EU countries.

In addition, with the gender pay gap, there is still a large salary difference between the sexes. Women also do about 52.4 percent more unpaid care work than men. In addition to raising children and housework, this also includes caring for relatives or doing voluntary work.

Violence against women is also an important issue, which is why many people take to the streets on International Women’s Day. According to the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, every third woman in Germany is a victim of physical or sexual violence at least once in her life. Violence is often perpetrated by the current or a former partner. Girls and women with disabilities experience violence two to three times more often than the general population.

These examples are just a few of the many areas in which women in Germany and around the world are not yet equal and are discriminated against.

Why International Women’s Day still needs to be celebrated

In discussions about the need for feminism and public holidays like International Women’s Day, the argument is often raised: “We don’t need feminism anymore, we had a chancellor for years.”

The previous examples show how deep inequality still is in society. Even a female chancellorship between many years of male chancellorships could not solve these problems. Furthermore, if women had to choose between celebrating International Women’s Day and living in an equal society, they would probably choose the latter without hesitation.

But as long as gender equality has not been achieved, the feminist day of struggle should point out all inequalities that need to be closed. In addition, International Women’s Day is a good opportunity to celebrate the numerous achievements of feminism in recent years.

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