International Women's Day in China

  • October 10, 2016
  • By Zhou Lei
  • Editor: Yang Yang
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International Women's Day in China
International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women's Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. [File Photo] 


International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women's Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, which also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality
Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out at the Global Women's Summit in New York on September 27, 2015 that every step for the development of women's causes, including the establishment of International Women's Day, has promoted the progress of human civilization.
In the 1920s, the observance was introduced to China and established an important platform to encourage Chinese women to participate in revolution and reform.
1.The Origin of International Women's Day
In terms of the origin of International Women's Day, there are generally three different origins.
The first is that the first National Women's Day was celebrated in the United States in 1909. The next year, a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, Clara Zetkin proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day. The conference of more than 100 women from 17 countries greeted Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval. 
The second is that in order to honor the heroic struggle of the Russian women workers in the February Revolution in 1917, March 8 was selected for the observance at the second International Women's Congress held in Moscow in 1921. 
The third was to commemorate the New York women's strike for "Bread and Peace" in 1908. 
2.First Celebration of International Women's Day in China
The cooperation between the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Communist Party accelerated the first celebration of International Women's Day in China.
In order to observe the day, the Central Women's Department of the KMT carried out a series of preparatory work in 1924, publicizing the day through newspapers, giving out leaflets and holding a rally. 
The first International Women's Day was marked in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, on March 8, 1924. Thousands of female students from institutions of higher learning and members of women's groups attended the event. The celebrations were gradually expanded to Beijing and Tianjin next year, as well as other provinces and municipalities across the country. 
3.Significance and Enlightenment
Introducing women's day to China is of great significance to strengthening the communication of women's movements at home and abroad.  
In addition, the celebration of the day in China also showed that: 
- A variety of activities should be carried out in different classes so as to expand the influence of the event. 
- All members of the Party and government should be called on, as well as social powers, to support women's liberation and development. 
- Women should be mobilized to participate in revolution and reform with a view to playing their role in holding up 'half the sky'. 

(Source: Women's Studies Institute of China/ Translated and edited by Gender Study Network)

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