Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Today is International Women's Day. Even my eleven year old grandson knows this. He told me so when we collected him and his cookery from school. His home economics class has been coming on quite nicely. A little bit of equality of opportunity there.

Some wag asked why there is not an International Men's Day. It turns put that there is one. It's on November 19th. They even have a website. Here it is. Their focus last November 16th was men's suicide. It seems that on most countries the male suicide rate is considerably higher than the female rate.

My daughter and I have celebrated the day by sorting out the contents of her over-full garage and taking a load of stuff to charitybshops and to the rubbish dump. Women working together get results!

As regards International Women's Day, I thought I had found out why it is celebrated on March 8th. Apparently, my source suggested, it dates back to 1908 when the female workers at a New York company, Cotton, went on strike to protest about their terrible working conditions. The strike went on for several days until, on March 8th, the proprietor, a certain Mr Johnson, locked all the doors so that the workers could not leave. When the cotton mill burnt down, the 129 women who worked there all died. Rosa Luxembourg proposed that the 8th of March should be designated International Women's Day, in memory of the 129 women.

I came across this information on an Italian website. Wikipedia, hiwever, denies the truth of this story. According to Wikipedia, the earliest organised Women's Day observance was held on February 28th 1909, organised by the Socialist Party of America in remembrance of the 1908 strike of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

It goes on to say that there was no strike on March 8th, as some people claimed,  and that even the year was wrong since the strike it celebrated, the New York shirtwaist strike of 1909, ended on February 28th, 1910.

At that point I gave up on the whole idea of researching the origins of the date. Today is International Women's Day and that's that!

And on a completely different topic, but with a bit of nostalgia thrown in, here is a link to a set of photos of London in the 1960s and 1970s.

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