"International Women’s Day is an occasion to review how far women have come in their struggle for equality, peace, and development. It is also an opportunity to unite, network, and mobilize for meaningful change.”
- United Nations Department of Public Information
The first International Women’s Day was March 8, 1911, but the day became one of activism years earlier. On March 8, 1857, in New York City, hundreds of women garment and textile workers in New York City protested against inhumane working conditions, the 12-hour workday, and low wages. Police attacked and dispersed the women. Two years later, these women formed their first union. On March 8, 1908, 15,000 women marched in New York City, demanding shorter hours, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labor. They adopted the slogan "Bread and Roses.” In May of that year, the Socialist Party of America designated National Women’s Day as the last Sunday in February. On February 23, 1917, March 8 in the Georgian calendar, Russian women protested poor living conditions and food shortages called for a strike for bread and peace.
In 1981, Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) cosponsored a Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming the week of March 8 National Women’s History Week. In 1986, the National Women’s History Project (founded in 1979 by Molly MacGregor) helped expand the celebration to the entire month of March. In 1987 and subsequent years, the National Women’s History Month Resolutions have been approved with broad-based, bipartisan support in both the Senate and House, and signed by the President.
To celebrate International Women's Day and Women's History Month, see our list of March Calendar Events in our special section for Women's History Month.
Also visit the National Women's History Project list of events in the U.S. and around the world.
Florida Supreme Court Upholds Death Penalty for Paul Hill
The Florida Supreme Court upheld anti-abortion extremist Paul Hill's murder conviction and death sentence on March 6. Hill was convicted and faces the electric chair for murdering Dr. John Britton and his driver James Barret with a shotgun on June 29, 1994, outside of the Ladies Center in Pensacola, Florida. The court denied claims by Hill's lawyers that Hill should not have been allowed to defend himself at his trial. The court also said the trial judge had acted appropriately in preventing Hill from saying the murders were justified because he was keeping fetuses from harm.