The Weird Socialist Origins Of International Women’s Day
1:44 pm, March 8th | by Hillary Reinsberg
International Women’s Day, despite its vague “let’s celebrate half the population for one day” message, isn’t really anything to complain about. But before you gush about the lady-inspired Google Doodle and whatnot, it’s worth knowing about the holiday’s somewhat peculiar origins as part of the Socialist movements of the early 1900s.
It all started in 1909, when the Socialist Party of America organized the day in support of female workers. Within the next few years, other countries like Germany and Austria had signed on.
Some years later, Russian Bolsheviks convinced Lenin to adopt the holiday and make it official — which he agreed to do. The movement was also extremely popular in socialist East Germany throughout the middle of the century.
Socialist activists were elemental in the women’s rights movements, so let’s be clear here: we respect that progress and the women who pioneered it. But our observance of International Women’s Day over the past few decades seems to have become a kind of blind one. Unlike say, (the fortunately out of style) “Take Your Daughter To Work Day,” International Women’s Day actually has a rich, interesting history.
That history is preserved today through some vintage posters, of which we dug up as many as we could: