9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN33 Women's and Gender Studies

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 History and Feminist Theory Building II, C4.01

International Women's Day: from objects to subjects of history

There isn't a consensus as to the historic occurrence which originated the International Women's Day. However, the more prominent viewpoints suggest working women's struggle for better living conditions as the starting point. We do know that the International Women's Day was proposed by Clara Zetkin in 1910, during the II International Conference of Socialist Women, which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark. Thus, there is an omission of the historical truth behind the origin of the event, but from that date on, the day has been celebrated in several countries, commemorating the national and international economical, political and social triumphs of women. Initially, the event was also marked by strong movements of political and working demands, strikes and police prosecutions.
The 8th of March became prominent and in 1975 the UN established the event, which has been celebrated in Portugal ever since, due to the recent triumph of Democracy, after a 48 year long dictatorial regime. The Portuguese context possesses certain characteristics which come from the political, social and cultural contexts, and made feminist struggles' visibility start only in the 70's and 80's of the XX century. Nowadays, feminism takes new contours in a society marked by capitalism, where women have gone from being seen as objects to being subjects, but where emancipation becomes apparent.
This communication aims to reflect upon the origin of the International Women's Day and the steps of a feminist path, which culminates in the contemporary society, marked by the paradigm of the body.