"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.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .