The fire in the Triangle factory in New York on March 25, 1911 was the most serious industrial accident in New York history. It caused the death of 146 people (123 women and 23 men). The event had a strong social and political echo, as a result of which new workplace safety laws were passed in the United States.
The New York fire is one of the events remembered as the origins of the International Women’s Day but it is not from this that it originates. The strongly political connotation of International Women’s Day, the political isolation of Russia and the communist movement and, finally, the events of the Second World War, contributed to the loss of the historical memory of the real origins of the event.
The Congress of the second Socialist International held in Stuttgart in 1907 set the foundations for starting to talk about the female question. A resolution was passed in which efforts were made to fight for universal suffrage. A few days later, the Information Office for Socialist Women was founded.
In May 1908, the President of the Office, Corinne Brown, presided over the Sunday socialist conference in Chicago – due to the unavailability of the usual speaker – a conference to which all women had been invited. From there we can start talking about a Women’s Day.
The following year, in the demonstration that the American Socialist Party organized on February 28, 1909 in support of women’s right to vote, there was an intense activation on the theme of social claims. They asked for a salary increase and improved working conditions. Thus was born the first Women’s Day in America.
In 1910, the American delegates proposed during the International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen to establish a day dedicated to claiming women’s rights. In Denmark, Germany, Austria and Switzerland it was celebrated for the first time on March 19, 1911.
With the start of the First World War, the celebrations stopped to resume on March 8, 1917 when, in St. Petersburg, women led a demonstration for the end of the conflict.
Here is finally the fateful 8 March: in the Second International Conference of Communist Women of 1921, this date was set for Women’s Day.
Mimosa was chosen as the flower symbol of Women’s Day because it blooms in early March.