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March 8th – International Women’s Day

Equality since 1911 – thanks to International Women’s Day

The annual day has it’s origin in the land of unlimited possibilities. On the occasion of the National Assembly election in St. Paul’s Church in Frankurt, the words of Louise Dittmer “It is true that there is much talk of freedom for all, but one is accustomed by the word ‘all’ to understand only men”, started the first legendary steps towards equality in 1848.

The German women‘s rights activist Hedwig Dohm clearly demanded in her writings of 1873 the women‘s suffrage as a prerequisite to enforce further rights. The women of the Socialist Party of America (SPA) had founded the National Women’s Committee in 1908. On February 28, 1909 they organized the first Women’s Day in the United States.

The demonstrations of the voting right requirements were followed by the women’s rights activists (suffragettes) from Great Britain. Inspired by this, the German socialist Clara Zetkin submitted the introductory proposal to the Second International Socialist Women’s Conference in Copenhagen in 1910. Clara Zetkin and the social democtratic politician Käte Duncker were involved in the meetings and forced the decision.

At the first World Women’s Day on March 8, 1911, about 1 million demonstrants gathered on the streets in Germany, Denmark, Austria-Hungary and Switzerland. At the time, political engagement for women was only possible in Finland. In 1918 German women were able to vote and Switzerland was only added in 1971. In 1975 this day was officially recognized by the United Nations (UNO) and takes place on March 8.

Symbol of resistance, challenges and the right to equality

In contrast to Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, this day should not only stand up for the right of the female sex, but also contribute to world peace. The purpose of this holiday, which is considered a national holiday in some countries, is to rivet on global grievances, analyse them and also address them. However, discrimination against women still exists. The “European Agency for Fundamental Rights” has established an international survey where physical and sexual violence happen to a third of women between the ages of 15 and 74 in the EU. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, this is 62 million women. Sadly, they could become the third largest nation after the heavyweights Germany and France.

Rights in detail

In Germany, women are legally equal. Like men, they can carry out their duties and exercise their rights. What‘s the global situation like in other countries? Meanwhile it is a matter of course that girls and women go to school or study. The clichéd weaker sex is represented in many professions and in political positions.

Nevertheless, there are some areas where women are not allowed to have a say or improve. Disadvantages are evident when one considers that the women’s world is secretly much more motivated and has averagely better university degrees. In contrast to other European provinces, there is a recognition with up to a quarter of the underpaid salary. Because they can become pregnant, the man often takes the helm in the world of work. In recent years, childcare after birth has increasingly been provided by men. In fact, for women this part means a standstill in terms of work technology. A lack of kindergarten places for this age group and possibly poor social contacts are an enormous challenge that can hardly be overcome.

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By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

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By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

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