feliz dia de la mujerSunday we celebrated International Women’s Day, a time to reflect on the achievements of half of the world’s population and advocate for equal rights across genders. Though International Women’s Day wasn’t officially recognized as a holiday by the United Nations until 1977, the origin can be dated back to the American Socialist Party in February 1908. At that time, thousands of women were protesting unethical working conditions. The protests continued even into the next year, beginning a National Women’s Day in the United States.

Zetkin ClaraAt the International Conference of Working Women in 1910, German socialist Clara Zetkin led the initiative to create a movement for women’s suffrage all around the world. Her speeches made women’s rights a hot topic around Europe, which eventually reached Russia, where a Women’s Day Demonstration took place March 8, 1917. 

That demonstration of more than 40,000 women and men helped women gain the right to vote, making Russia one of the first major countries to give women equal voting rights. The United States did not grant women the right to vote until 1920.

In fact, Illinois was actually the first state to ratify the 19th Francis Willard 40552amendment. Indeed, many achievements of the women’s suffrage movement can be credited to Frances Willard, a women’s rights and temperance activist who rose out of Evanston, Illinois.

Women’s rights have come a long way since the early 1900s, but there are still some inequalities we have yet to conquer. In other parts of the world, women still live under extreme patriarchal mandates, making it unlawful for them to partake in liberties American women enjoy every day, such as driving.

In our own country, women can be free to make their own decisions, but there is a pay gap between the genders and races. In the last few years, millions have participated in the annual Women’s March, pushing the political power of women to create social change.

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