The Socialist Roots of International Women’s Day

Source: Lindsay Beyerstein, In These Times, Working In These Times blog, March 8, 2016

Today, as the world marks the 99th annual International Women’s Day, it’s clear that the occasion enjoys an aura of mainstream respectability. IWD is an official holiday in 15 countries. But the radical roots of the IWD have been largely forgotten…. International Women’s Day was born during a time of great social upheaval, as women and workers began to organize and assert their rights, often in concert. In 1908, 15,000 women marched in New York to demand shorter hours, better working conditions, and the right to vote. The famous slogan “Bread and Roses” made its debut at this protest. It was a poetic answer to a basic question: What are we fighting for? Bread represents survival and roses represent quality of life and human dignity. The slogan has been associated with the overlap between women’s rights and workers’ rights ever since…..