Google celebrates International Women’s Day with a doodle of women from around the world. Many will honor advancements for women’s rights Friday, but how familiar are people with its history?
After more than 100 years, International Women’s Day draws millions to commemorate the advancements made in human rights and to discuss the challenges women continue to face in politics, education, employment, and other areas of daily life.
However, International Women’s Day originally commemorated the working rights protests led by female garment workers. Many seem to forget the holiday’s ties to the working rights movement in the United States and the Socialist Party.
The origins of the holiday can be traced back to March 8, 1857, when garment workers in New York City staged a protest against inhumane working conditions and low wages, according to the United Nations. The police attacked the protesters and dispersed them, but the movement continued and led to the creation of the first women’s labor union.
Fast forward to March 8, 1908: 15,000 women marched in New York City for shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights, and an end to child labor. The slogan “Bread and Roses” emerged, with bread symbolizing economic security and roses for better living standards.