8 March: International Women’s Day

8 March: International Women’s Day

A day dedicated to the social and cultural role of women and their struggles to gain their rights

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year to commemorate both the social, economic and political achievements and the discrimination and violence to which women have been and are still subjected in many parts of the world.

This celebration has been held in the United States of America since 1909. In some European countries since 1911 and in Italy since 1922. Especially in the past, and still today by the UDI (Italian Women’s Union) and in the common meaning, it is called Women’s Day even if it would be more correct International Women’s Day, since the motivation is not celebration but remembrance and reflection.

For many years, the origin of “Women’s Day” was traced back to a tragedy that occurred in 1908 in the Cotton textile factory in New York: many female workers lost their lives in a fire that broke out in the factory where the managers had locked them up to prevent them from taking part in a demonstration to demand women’s rights.

However, this fire has been confused with another one that took place, also in New York, on 25 March 1911, which hit the Triangle factory. It was the most serious industrial accident in the city’s history and caused the death of 146 people (123 women, including 38 Italians, and 23 men).

On this year’s International Women’s Day,
the European Parliament celebrates the crucial role of women during the COVID-19 crisis.

Women have been at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, not least because they predominate in the health sector. Moreover, not a few women have been hit hard by the pandemic because they are employed in unsafe or precarious jobs that have disappeared or changed as a result of the crisis. Not only that, continuous lockdowns have led to an increase in cases of domestic violence. The European Parliament has therefore underlined the need to address such inequalities and will celebrate International Women’s Day during its plenary session on 8 March. On this occasion, a video message from New Zealand’s First Minister, Jacinda Ardern, will be broadcast.