Saturday, March 08, 2008

International Women's Day which nobody wants to talk about

8th March 2008 : Malaysia 12th General Election is apparently a happening event and catches all the lime light away from International Women's Day. Everyone is talking about the former. Let me talk about the latter then.

According to Wikipedia: The first IWD was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. Among other relevant historic events, it commemorates the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (New York, 1911), where over 140 women lost their lives. The idea of having an international women's day was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that led to protests over working conditions. By urban legend,[1][2] women from clothing and textile factories staged one such protest on 8 March 1857 in New York City[citation needed].[3] The garment workers were protesting against very poor working conditions and low wages. The protesters were attacked and dispersed by police. These women established their first labor union in the same month two years later.
More protests followed on 8 March in subsequent years, most notably in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights[citation needed]. In 1910 the first international women's conference was held in Copenhagen (in the labour-movement building located at Jagtvej 69, which until recently housed Ungdomshuset) by the Second International and an 'International Women's Day' was established, which was submitted by the important German Socialist Clara Zetkin. The following year, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. However, soon thereafter, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City killed over 140 garment workers. A lack of safety measures was blamed for the high death toll. Furthermore, on the eve of World War I, women across Europe held peace rallies on 8 March 1913. In the West, International Women's Day was commemorated during the 1910s and 1920s, but dwindled. It was revived by the rise of feminism in the 1960s.
Demonstrations marking International Women's Day in Russia proved to be the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Lenin to make it an official holiday in Russia, and it was established, but was a working day until 1965. On May 8, 1965 by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet International Women's Day was declared as a non working day in the USSR "in commemoration of outstanding merits of the Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Motherland during the Great Patriotic War, their heroism and selflessness at the front and in rear, and also marking the big contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples and struggle for the peace."

Sometimes people are confused. Are feminist contradicting themselves while asking for equal treatment (as in zero discrimination towards female officials and thereof) claiming they (I mean "we") can do the same as their counterparts, while at the same time, calling towards men to treat them as a lady.

I once read a post saying feminism and gentleman-ness are not mutually exclusive. Women can be a feminist, spreading the awareness of protecting women from domestic violence and office molestation. But at the same time, gentlemanly gestures are not only still flattering but should be practised by men who call themselves one. I believe this is the way to go because these two things in fact go hand in hand - showing more respect for women. Of course, women should show equivalent respect to men as well.

With this, I shall stop my writing here. Not really in a mood to type a good post though.

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