The 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day
Washington, D.C.– Today we celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day . Begun in 1908, it emerged out of the struggles of women in the labor movement and is used today as a way to raise awareness about the struggles and historic contributions of women. It was devised by a German public servant who wanted to find a way to make the voices of women heard worldwide on the issues of voting rights, workers rights and political representation. The day was first celebrated in 1911 with rallies in Germany, Denmark, Austria, and Switzerland and more than one million men and women in attendance. It also occurred just days before the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York that drew attention to the inhumane working conditions women, children and immigrants had to endure in the industrialized West.
Rep. John Lewis issued the following statement to commemorate this day:
"International Women's Day emerged out of struggle, out of the need for women to speak up and speak out about the social problems that affect them the most. We have made a great deal of progress worldwide. In many nations today, women have the right to vote. They can lead the pack as corporate CEO's, prime ministers, members of parliament, judges, and secretaries of state. But the struggle for the true equality for women is still not done.
" Too often today women are still left out and left behind when it comes to equal pay, equal opportunity and simple human dignity. They are still being left out of board meetings and passed over for raises. They are still living in fear of violent husbands, strangers, and friends. Women are still sold into slavery even today, shipped like cargo in secret, and traded like commodities on the black market. Women are still more likely to be hungry and poor. We have come a great distance as a human family, but we still have a lot more work to do before we build a world where women are safe, are valued for their contributions and where the sky is their only limit."
To commemorate International Women's Day, Congressman Lewis also co-sponsored H. RES 194, supporting the goals of International Women's Day and recognizing the 100th Anniversary, introduced by Rep. Jan Shakowsky (D-IL).