The year 2010 was the centennial of Clara Zetkin's proposal for an annual women's holiday, which became known as International Women's Day, and 2011 was the centennial of its first celebrations. The first ten years of the holiday's existence were a particularly tumultuous time in world history, with the advent of World War I, revolutionary upheavals in some of the major combatant countries, and the demise of the German, Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian empires. During this time, International Women's Day celebrations quickly gained great popularity, and in 1917 sparked the February Russian Revolution. This article focuses on the development of the holiday from its U.S. and Western European origins and goal of women's suff rage, to its role in empowering Russian women to spark a revolution, and its re-branding as a Soviet communist celebration. Special attention is paid to the roles of two prominent international socialist women leaders, Zetkin and Alexandra Kollontai, in shaping the holiday's evolution.
From West to East
International Women's Day, the First Decade
Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild
Ukrainian Women Reclaiming the Feminist Meaning of International Women's Day
A Report about Recent Feminist Activism
During the Soviet regime the meaning of International Women’s Day (IWD) in Ukraine changed dramatically: its original feminist essence was substituted with communist propaganda aimed at women’s mobilization for the construction of a radiant communist future. In recent decades 8 March turned into a holiday of spring, women’s beauty, and love, celebrated both in public settings and in Soviet families. By the late 1980s, Soviet citizens had interiorized the new ways to celebrate this day at which men and boys were expected (or even required) to solemnize the “eternal femininity” of their counterparts by expressing their love, respect, and attention to women and girls of all ages, to greet them with flowers and gifts and to fulfill all their (rather modest) wishes one day a year. The leaders of the Communist Party and the heads of local authorities developed the new tradition of publishing their holiday greetings to female citizens in the media, while directors of enterprises congratulated their female employees in more tangible ways, from flowers and letters of commendation to financial bonus or career promotion. While celebrating “Soviet women―the most liberated women in the world,” nobody was to speak about the multitude of gender inequalities persisting in late Soviet society, as the so-called woman question was proclaimed solved in the USSR long ago.
The Different Faces of a Celebration
The Greek Course of International Women's Day, 1924–2010
This article examines the history of International Women's Day (IWD) in Greece from its first celebration in 1924 until 2010. IWD was introduced in Greece by the KKE (Communist Party of Greece) and remained a communist ritual for fifty years. After the fall of the military dictatorship in 1974, the anniversary gradually acquired a wide acceptance and has since been adopted by feminist groups and organizations, trade unions, and parties from the entire political spectrum. The article follows the transformations of the celebration, explores its nebulous genealogy and the myths about its origins, and discusses its impressive ability to survive in diverse socio-political contexts.
Together and Apart
Polish Women's Rights Activists and the Beginnings of International Women's Day Around 1911
Iwona Dadej and Angelique Leszczawski-Schwerk
This article investigates International Women's Day (IWD) in Poland as a historical and current event. In 1911, the first IWD was observed by Polish feminists who belonged to a "nation without a state." This first celebration marked the beginning of the first stage of the history of IWD in the Polish lands. One hundred years later, women's marches took place again on 8 March. This article examines how Polish feminists celebrated and organized IWD in Galicia and Congress Poland in 1911 and beyond. The article sheds light on the relationship between the liberal and socialist women's movements in Poland during the years 1911–1914. This study contributes to Polish women's history and to the feminist memory culture of IWD. Using our analysis of the history of the origins of IWD in Poland, we also consider whether or not the demands of 1911 are still relevant to the present day.
The Soviet Solution for Women in Clara Zetkin's Journal Die Kommunistische Fraueninternationale, 1921-1925
Liberty P. Sproat
Since the early 1920s, following the Bolshevik Revolution, Clara Zetkin, the renowned German socialist, politician, and fighter for women's rights, argued that only communism provided complete emancipation for women because it brought equality both in theory and in practice. Zetkin used her periodical Die Kommunistische Fraueninternationale (The communist women's international) (1921-1925) to convince women of the virtues of joining Soviet Russia (later the Soviet Union) in worldwide revolution rather than succumbing to the empty promises of feminist movements in capitalist nations. From reports of International Women's Day celebrations to statistical reviews of the institutions established to aid working women, Die Kommunistische Fraueninternationale used the example of Soviet Russia to illustrate what life for women entailed in a country that had experienced a successful communist revolution. The Soviet model portrayed in Die Kommunistische Fraueninternationale was optimistic and illustrated what Zetkin anticipated her female readers dreamed for themselves. The periodical, thus, became a tool of communist propaganda to convince women that supporting international communism was the most effective path for obtaining equal economic and social rights with men.
A Historical Focus on Comics
Lawrence Grove, Anne Magnussen, and Ann Miller
. Nordenstam and Wallin Wictorin also discuss the concern of some feminist reviews to act as a repository for a history of feminist activism, through coverage of, for example, the origins of International Women's Day, as a way of motivating contemporary women
Sight and Touch between East and West
Ethics, Ethnography and Social Theory
International Women's Day in London, while the Latvian media were showing the usual pictures from the streets of Riga with men busy buying tulips and roses in flower markets and hurrying to their offices and homes to offer these to their female colleagues
Swedish Feminist Comics and Cartoons from the 1970s and 1980s
Anna Nordenstam and Margareta Wallin Wictorin
Kvinnobulletinen of 1983, there is one example of a story with this theme, a full-page comic on the back cover, about the history of 8 March, International Women's Day. As can be seen in Figure 9 , the history of the international socialist women's day 8 March
Jovanka Broz and the Yugoslav Popular Press during Tito's Reign
At the Crossroads of Tradition and Emancipation (1952–1980)
Association. Both magazines published interviews with Jovanka on the occasion of International Women's Day in 1968. The editors of Front presented her as “comrade Jovanka Budisavljević-Broz” and were the only ones who pointed out that Jovanka added Tito
Along the twilights of care
Continuities of technomoral politics in São Paulo's pro-migrant activism
learned that Teresa's disappointment concerned an International Women's Day demonstration that Yoceline had refused to attend. The following pages elaborate on the affective collision between the two women, which relates to the interface between