In this article, Miguel Jiménez explains the origins of International Working Women’s Day, which was born out of the socialist movement of the 19th Century, and became fixed in revolutionary calendars by the February insurrection of 1917...

We have witnessed a colossal increase in women's struggles, with mobilizations in defense of gender equality growing larger in recent years. Every 8 March, International Women’s Day, hundreds of thousands of people, mostly women, go out into the streets to resist inequality.

Every year on March 8th, International Women’s Day is celebrated all over the world. Today, it has become what is essentially a day to raise awareness about the oppression of women. This year, it has particular significance because it is also the anniversary of the beginning of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Most people are not aware of the fact that on March 8th 1917 it was actually women who started the events that created the revolution. This began a revolutionary process that brought the working class to power, allowing for spectacular advancements for women.

This year March 8 in Italy will not be the same as other years. We live in a system that is no longer able even to pretend to guarantee decent living conditions for the majority of the people and this is reflected in particular in the terrible situation facing women. In the past few months, however, in dozens of countries around the world we have seen hundreds of thousands of women expressing their anger against the system, and taking to the streets to in defence of their rights.

The former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman.

Jeremy Corbyn’s statement in favour of decriminalisation of prostitution on Friday once again brought the wrath of the Parliamentary Labour Party against him. The right-wing majority amongst female Labour MPs saw their opportunity to hypocritically strike another blow against Corbyn. The evidence is clear that these MPs have supported and continue to support policies directly in contradiction with the interests of working class women.

Hillary Clinton Testimony to House Select Committee on Benghazi.

In the current campaign to receive the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, Hillary Clinton has tried to portray herself as a defender of women’s rights, appealing to “sisterhood” and the possibility of becoming the first female president in order to galvanize support. While there is certainly a layer who views her as the most progressive candidate because of her gender, many young women and men in the U.S. can see right through the smoke and mirrors, and recognize Clinton as a member of the increasingly hated establishment.

International Working Women's Day demonstration.

Working women have been struggling for complete equality in the workplace for over a century. In fact, a common thread running through many countries throughout the 20th Century was the struggle for “equal pay for work of equal value”, which meant irrespective of gender a worker should receive the same wage for the same kind of work. We are still not there, and with the onset of the crisis in 2008 things have begun to get worse.

The ideas of Feminism have traditionally found support in universities, and these ideas are currently enjoying a surge in popularity amongst students. At a time when the ideas of Marxism are also finding a growing echo in the student movement, what attitude do Marxists take towards different feminist ideas? How far are these schools of thought compatible? What are the points of contention between them? And what does it mean to call yourself a “Marxist-Feminist”?

Over 100 years have passed since the first International Women’s Day was organized. Although International Women’s Day (IWD) has, in recent years, become an event that focuses on the celebration of women’s rights and achievements, the socialist origins of the IWD have become lesser known.

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