Women in U.S. and Russia Led the Way for International Women’s Day

Amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and U.S. talks to ban Russian oil imports — here’s some backstory on women’s movements in the U.S. (1909) and Russia (1917) that led to International Women’s Day.

Christine Wolf
3 min readMar 8, 2022


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Women’s Day has roots going back 111 years, with women’s movements in the U.S. and Russia leading the charge.

According to a statement from UNESCO, “The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28 1909, which the Socialist Party of America dedicated in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York where women protested against harsh working conditions. In 1917, women in Russia chose to protest and strike under the slogan ‘Bread and Peace’ on the last Sunday in February (which fell on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar). Their movement ultimately led to the enactment of women’s suffrage in Russia.”

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” UNESCO describes today as one of “recognition and celebration of the women and girls who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation and response and to honour their leadership and contribution towards a sustainable future.”

Yet today, rather than focusing on International Women’s Day or discussing the efforts of women leading climate change, there’s a fervent discussion of the Russia-Ukraine War. Today, the U.S. is in “active” discussions to ban Russian oil imports.

Amidst war, what will a global future even look like? Amidst war, how dim might the spotlight on gender equality grow?

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Christine Wolf is an award-winning writer and memoir coach. Her writing gravitates toward resilience beyond trauma, emotional wellness, and the multi-faceted human condition. She owns Writers’ Haven LLC, a cooperative workspace for women writers. Click to follow Christine Wolf’s Substack Newsletter and her website.



Christine Wolf

Memoir Coach. Author. Journalist. Marathoner. Lover of emotions, words & spicy nachos. Grateful you’re here. Twitter/Insta @tinywolf1. www.christinewolf.com