My name is Carol Cavanaugh. I was introduced to International Women’s Day in 2009, while living in Kazakhstan and doing volunteer work at a local orphanage.
My husband, Dirk Cavanaugh, and I retired in Perry in 2016, and I missed the idea of celebrating IWD. On March 8, 2017, I decided to invite a group of Perry women to our home for coffee. I greeted them with a “Happy International Women’s Day!”
The following year, with the help of many local ladies, we organized the first International Women’s Day — Perry, Iowa. The past two years the event was cancelled due to COVID-19.
We have an interesting lineup for speakers this year March 8 celebration. The ladies have diverse stories to share along with a wide range of ages — from 17 to 95 years. We have also added to the lineup: a couple of men who will be involved and music by our local Perry High School Girl’s Choir, led by Vocal Music Director, Jenn Nelson.
Door prizes were donated by local artists. Coffee, tea and pastries will be served. No tickets are needed. There will be a free-will donation.
The concept of International Women’s Day dates back to the early 1900s in New York City. Women working in the garment industry protested due to their poor working conditions. Many of these women were immigrants. The day was referred to as International Women’s Day.
This was also birth to Women’s History Month, and later a celebration on Feb. 28, 1909, referred to as “Women’s Day,” which was held on the one-year anniversary of the city’s garment industry strike.
By 1911 the tradition had caught on in Europe. In Denmark, 100 women from 17 different countries met in Copenhagen and proposed the idea that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day, a “Women’s Day.”
In 1913-1914 Russian women campaigned for peace on the eve of World War I. Women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women’s solidarity. By 1917 Russian women continued to protest for “Bread and Peace.” This date fell on March 8. Four days later, women were granted the right to vote.
In the U.S., Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton had drafted an amendment allowing women to vote in 1877. In January 1878, it was first introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Aaron A. Sargent of California. It failed. Some 42 years later, the 19th Amendment was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote.
In 1975 the first U.N. conference on women was held in Mexico City. The U.N. proclaimed a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace — calling it International Women’s Day. The central feature in the U.N.’s effort was to address women’s challenges around the world.
In 2001 a global www.internationalwomensday.com was launched to reenergize the day as an important platform to celebrate the successful achievements and contributions of women to society, be it social, economical, cultural or political. International Women’s Day is an official holiday in many countries around the world.
At the resent day, the U.S. is proud to join the global community in celebrating the achievements and contributions of women and girls from around the world, while simultaneously recognizing the barriers they continue to face.