Stronger together

Female diverse faces of different ethnicity poster. Women empowerment movement pattern. International women's day graphic vector.  

1792:Winds of change

One of the earliest works in feminist philosophy, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft, is published. The pioneering book argues for women’s rights to be equal to that of men. Often considered to be far ahead of its time, it is relevant even today.

1837An idea emerges

The word ‘féminisme’ is coined by French philosopher and socialist Charles Fourier to describe advocacy of women’s rights. This is the first documented use of the word.

1848:A big ‘first’

The first women’s rights convention in the U.S. is held in Seneca Falls, New York. Around 300 participants attend the meeting, which aims at fighting for the social, civil and religious rights of women.

1893:Path-breaking move

New Zealand becomes the first self-governing nation in the world to give national voting rights to women. The decision gives hope to activists around the world.

1911:Birth of a movement

The first International Women’s Day is observed in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. More than one million people participate in rallies to campaign for women’s rights.

1915:Resolutions and assertions

Around 1,200 delegates meet at the first International Congress of Women in The Hague, the Netherlands. They adopt resolutions on peace and women’s suffrage.

1927: Closer to home

The first meeting of the All India Women’s Conference is conducted in Poona. This gathering is a significant milestone in the history of the women’s rights movement in India.

1945For peace and security

The United Nations is formed in the aftermath of the devastating World War II. The organisation’s founding charter affirms its support for women’s rights and gender equality. A year later, the Commission on the Status of Women, the first global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to gender equality, is established. In 1948, the UN adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first time an international document asserts “equal rights of men and women”.

1960Symbols of resistance

In the Dominican Republic, The Mirabal sisters — three women activists who protest against the dictator Rafael Trujillo and become icons of feminist resistance — are assassinated, leading to public outcry. The day of their murders is since then observed as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.



Sri Lanka’s Sirimavo Bandaranaike becomes the world’s first elected woman Prime Minister.

1975 Watershed moment

Around 25,000 women in Iceland go on strike and take to the streets to demonstrate the importance of women. By simply refusing to go to work, do housework and take care of children, they bring the city to a standstill — a major milestone in the effort to change the way women are seen in the country. Over the years, Iceland has earned a reputation for being the world’s ‘most feminist country’.

1979 Definitive measures

The UN General Assembly adopts the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women), often described as an international bill of rights for women. It defines discrimination against women and how to end it.

1995 ‘Women’s rights are human rights’

In a significant turning point in gender equality, the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women is held in Beijing, China. More than 17,000 participants arrive for the event where an agenda for women’s empowerment is adopted by 189 countries.

2011In the spotlight

Three women are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their struggle for women’s safety and rights. They are Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President of Liberia), Leymah Gbowee (Liberian activist), and Tawakul Karman (Yemeni activist). Three years later, Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan becomes the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance speech, she calls for the equal right to education for girls all over the world.

2017Solidarity in numbers

An estimated 2.5 to 5.5 million people participate in the Women’s March in the U.S. and sister marches around the world to support gender equality and civil rights. It is considered one of the largest global mass demonstrations in support of women’s rights.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 5:57:40 PM |

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