International Women’s Day (March 8)

a day of international solidarity of women in the struggle for economic, social, and political equality. The resolution for the annual celebration of International Women’s Day (based on K. Tsetkin’s proposal) was adopted at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen in 1910. It was first held in 1911 in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Denmark and was first observed in Russia in 1913 in St. Petersburg.

Until 1914 the day was observed in different countries on different days in March. The tradition of celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8 was strengthened everywhere after women in Austria, Hungary, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, the USA, and other countries observed it on that day in 1914. On Feb. 23 (Mar. 8), 1917, the workers of Petrograd, at the call of the St. Petersburg committee of the Bolsheviks, observed International Women’s Day with political meetings and demonstrations. This was a landmark in the development of the mass movement and an important event in the February bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1917.

The USSR and other socialist states celebrate International Women’s Day to mobilize women who have been liberated from the social yoke and have received equal rights with men for active work in all areas of economic, sociopolitical, and cultural life. On this day women in socialist countries review their participation in communist and socialist construction. In nonsocialist countries, International Women’s Day is observed as a day of struggle for the rights of women and for social progress within the state’s specific conditions and situation. Women in all countries hold March 8 as a day of solidarity in the struggle for peace.

A decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on May 8, 1965, declared International Women’s Day (March 8) to be a holiday from work “in commemoration of the out-standing public service of Soviet women in the construction of communism and in the defense of the homeland during the Great Patriotic War; in recognition of their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear; and in observance of the great contribution made by women to the strengthening of friendship between peoples and the struggle for peace.”