Happy Women’s History Month! Even though International Women’s Day was on March 8th, I thought that it would be a great idea to feature women artists for today’s post! Here is a little about the IWD:
International Women’s Day (IWD)~
Started in: Early 1900’s
International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900’s when critical debate was occurring among women. Women’s oppression and inequality was pushing women to become more vocal and active, demanding change in their society. In 1908, over 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding to have shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first IWD was observed across the United States on 28 of February. Women continued to celebrate IWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
n 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany)had the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands. There was a conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Clara Zetkin’s suggestion with their approval and then IWD was born.
After the decision of making a IWD at Copenhagen in 1911, IWD was honored for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However, less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic ‘Triangle Fire’ took place in New York City. It has been called the deadliest workplace accident in New York City’s history. A dropped match on the 8th floor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sparked a fire that took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. The private industry of the American factory would never be the same again.
This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labor legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent IWD events. 1911 also saw women’s ‘Bread and Roses’ campaign.
” Bread and Roses is apolitical slogan as well as the name of an associated poem and song. It originated from a speech given by Rose Schneiderman. The poem was first published in The American Magazine in December 1911, with the attribution line “‘Bread for all, and Roses, too’—a slogan of the women in the West.” The poem has been translated into other languages and has been set to music by at least three composers.
It is commonly associated with the successful textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts during January–March 1912, now often known as the “Bread and Roses strike”.
The slogan pairing bread and roses, appealing for both fair wages and dignified conditions, found resonance as transcending “the sometimes tedious struggles for marginal economic advances” in the “light of labor struggles as based on striving for dignity and respect”, as Robert J. S. Ross wrote in 2013.
Here are the words to this powerful poem:
As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: “Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”
As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!
As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for—but we fight for roses, too!
As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler—ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!
IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.
Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.
Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google some years even changes its logo on its global search pages. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status. The United States even designates the whole month of March as ‘Women’s History Month’.
So, I dedicate this post to the women horse artists, some that have been featured on my blog before (they have a * by their names), and some that have not. Go and enjoy this lovely art and your freedom these women of long ago fought for!
And here are a few of my sculptures I thought I would add too…
If you wold like to watch this documentary film on the “Triangle Fire” click HERE .
Also, if you haven’t seen my other post on the Women’s Right’s Movement, featuring artist Jill Greenberg, click HERE .
I learned a lot from this post and I hope you have too. The bravery and courage of these women who lived and died for this cause in amazing and inspiring.
Huh? What? Well, I will believe that when I see flying Shetlands !