If Women Do Not Stand Up
Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD)
Offset, Circa 2013
New Delhi, India
Translation: "If Women Do Not Stand Up, Their Oppression Will Increase"
Today is International Women’s Day, and from Iran to Tennessee, women are fighting for their rights to live beyond laws that oppress their ability to live freely.
On March 8, 1857, women from the garment and textile industry in New York demonstrated to protest low wages, the 12-hour workday and increasing workloads. They asked for improved working conditions and equal pay for all working women. Their march was dispersed by the police. Some of the women were arrested and some were injured. Three years later, in March 1860, these women formed their own union and again called for their demands to be met.
On March 8, 1908, thousands of women from the needle trade industry demonstrated for the same demands. They also asked for laws against child labor and laws for the right of women to vote. They declared March 8 to be Women's Day.
In 1910, Clara Zetkin, a German labor leader, proposed that March 8 be proclaimed International Women's Day in memory of those women who had fought for better lives. For almost 80 years, March 8 has been celebrated in many countries, but has only been commemorated widely in the United States since 1970 with the development of the Women's Liberation Movement.