International Women's Day 2011


“100 Years Later, The Roll of the Dead in a Factory Fire Is Complete”. This was the headline in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago in which it was reported that a diligent researcher had finally identified the last of the “unknown victims” in the fire at the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory in Manhattan on 25 March 1911.

146 workers, many of them women and girls, recent immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe, lost their lives in that fire due to the lack of minimum safety measures. It was a massacre, more than a tragedy, as those poor women and men died because the owner had locked all the doors, trapping the workers inside the factory.

One week before the fire, on 19 March 1911 the first International Women's Day was celebrated by over one million women in Europe, demanding political rights and the right to work. The demonstrations took place in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland (countries from which most of the 58 delegates to the 2nd Congress of the Socialist International Women came from). On Clara Zetkin’s proposal, the Congress had decided that women all over the world should rally and demonstrate for one day in the month of March, in favour of their rights and political emancipation.

These two events, that of the demonstrations in the “Old World” and that of the fire in the “New World” have thus become indelibly linked by a tragic intersection of ideas and events. It is right to keep the link between these two events which marked the history of women’s emancipation and legislation, the first with an initiative of protest and demand, the second for the ensuing scandal which finally led to the passage of new workplace safety laws, pro-worker policies, and labour laws.

Celebrating International Women’s Day helps to keep the memory of a past event which happened one hundred years ago and that of entering a struggle for work and political rights, that in turn have allowed following generations of women and men to have a better quality of life.

The 8 March should be a day for us to remember and to give new impetus to women’s rights, emancipation and feminism.




Season's Greeting!

December 2019

Wishing peace and equality for 2020

Declaration on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25 November 2019

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Regional Meeting

Niamey, Niger, from 28 to 30 October 2019

Women's Participation in Decision-Making Processes - the challenges for a 50/50 World

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11 March 2019

63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), United Nations, New York, from 11 to 22 March 2019

Side Event hosted by the Socialist International Women(SIW) and Pablo Iglesias Foundation

International Women's Day Declaration

08 March 2019

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Council Meeting

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Social Protection Systems, Access to Public Services and Sustainable Infrastructure for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls

Nobel Peace Prize 2018

05 October 2018

The Socialist International Women (SIW) would like to warmly congratulate the Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad on winning the 2018 Nobel peace prize for their work on combating sexual violence...

Obituary - Maria Jonas

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We were deeply saddened to hear today that our comrade and friend Maria Jonas, former Secretary General of Socialist International Women, has died at the age of 78 years...


The First Hundred Years

A Short History of Socialist International Women

By Irmtraut Karlsson

This book tells the history of the first one hundred years of the Socialist International Women