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International Women's Day

March 8

Interesting Fact:  Smartest (measured) human in recorded history was a woman:
Marylyn vos Savant (IQ 190).

"International Women's Day"

[This is an excerpt from an article by Borgna Brunner] 

4,000 people marched through Madrid in 1998 in honor of International Women's Day. (Source/AP) 
IN its various incarnations, ranging from a communist holiday to a U.N.-sponsored event, International Women's Day has been celebrated for almost 90 years. 

Inspired by an American commemoration of working women, the German socialist Klara Zetkin organized International Women's Day (IWD) in 1911. On March 19, socialists from Germany, Austria, Denmark and other European countries held strikes and marches. Russian revolutionary and feminist Aleksandra Kollontai, who helped organize the event, described it as "one seething trembling sea of women." 

Women's Rights and Peace 

As the annual event developed, it took on the cause of peace as well as women's rights. In 1915, Zetkin organized a demonstration in Bern, Switzerland, to urge the end World War I. Women on both sides of the war turned out. 

Russian Women and the February Revolution

Both Zetkin and Kollontai took part in the most famous International Women's Day-the March 8, 1917, strike "for bread and peace" led by Russian women in St. Petersburg. The IWD strike merged with riots that had spread through the city between March 8-12. The February Revolution, as it became known, forced the Czar Nicholas II to abdicate. (Russia switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1918, which moved the dates of the February revolution [Feb. 24-28, old style] to March.) 

The "Heroic Woman Worker," Soviet Style

Kollontai, a minister in the first Soviet government, persuaded Lenin to make March 8 an official communist holiday. During the Soviet period, the holiday celebrated "the heroic woman worker." Today it is still a Russian holiday--celebrated in the fashion of Mother's Day with flowers or breakfast in bed--in which men show appreciation for the women in their lives. 

International Women's Day in the United States

IWD was commemorated in the United States during the 1910s and 1920s, but then dwindled. It was revived during the women's movement in the 1960s, but without its socialist associations. In 1975, the U.N. began sponsoring International Women's Day. 

March is U.S.A.'s National
Women's History Month.

How did Women's History Month begin?

National Women's History Month began as a single week and as a local event. In 1978, Sonoma County, California, sponsored a women's history week to promote the teaching of women's history, which, at that time, was a neglected subject in elementary and high school curriculums. The week of March 8th was selected to include International Women's Day. In 1981 Congress passed a resolution making the week a national celebration, and in 1987 expanded it to the full month of March.

Celebrate the achievements of women with Infoplease.com every day in March!


Notable Ancient Women Quiz
by Holly Hartman
This is a multiple choice quiz, with answers at the bottom.

Let's begin...

(1)  This powerful high priestess of the moon is the first recorded female name in recorded history:

En Hedu'Anna

(2)  Called "the Vietnamese Joan of Arc," she held a sword in each hand as she led her troops against the Chinese:

Trieu Au
Trung Trac
Trung Nhi

(3)  She ruled ancient Egypt for longer than any other woman pharaoh:

Cleopatra VII

(4)  The patron saint of Paris, she is said to have used the power of prayer to save her city from the Huns:

St. Odilia
St. Adelaide
St. Genevieve

(5)  China's most famous female warrior, she fought as a man for more than ten years:

Wu Zetian
Hua Mu-Lan

(6)  This Greek lyric poet is sometimes called the "tenth muse:"


(7)  She used the bark of the mulberry tree to develop the first paper:

Shi Dun

(8)  One of Japan's greatest writers, she is thought to be the first novelist in the world:

Izumi Shikibu
Murasaki Shikibu
Lady Sarashina

(9)  She may have ruled Egypt alone after the death of her husband, the pharaoh Akhnaten:

Cleopatra VII

(10)  In ancient times these woman warriors terrorized North Africa, Asia Minor, and the lands around the Black Sea:




1. Correct answer: En Hedu'Anna

En Hedu'Anna (b. 2354? B.C.) was one of the priestesses whose work in astronomy governed every aspect of ancient Sumerian life. Aglaonike (b. 200? B.C.) was an ancient Greek philosopher who predicted eclipses. The Greek Aganice (b. 1878? B.C.) developed a system to predict planetary motion.

2. Correct answer: Trieu Au

After defeat by Chinese troops Trieu Au (A.D. 222?-248) committed suicide rather than surrender. Trung Trac and Trung Nhi ("the Trung Sisters") organized a rebellion against Chinese rule in 29 A.D., won back their land, and became co-queens.

3. Correct answer: Hatshepsut

During the 18th dynasty Hatshepsut (1503?-1482 B.C.) ruled Egypt for more than 20 years. "Candace" was a title given to queens of ancient Ethiopia; one famous such Candace declared war on the governor of Egypt in 22 B.C. Cleopatra VII (69?-30? B.C.) fought Rome's efforts to take over Egypt.

4. Correct answer: St. Genevieve

St. Genevieve (422?-500?) is said to have converted Clovis I, king of the Franks, and his entire nation to Christianity. Saint Odilia (660-720) is the founder of France's famous Hohenberg convent. The Italian St. Adelaide (931-999) was a ruler of the Holy Roman Empire who founded many churches and monasteries.

5. Correct answer: Hua Mu-Lan

In battle, Hua Mu-Lan (5th century A.D.) used her father's name as well as his armor. During the Shang Dynasty Fuhao (1324-1265 B.C.), a wealthy ruler and military leader, led armies of some 10,000 troops. The powerful and successful Wu Zetian (625-705 A.D.) was the only woman in Chinese history to rule as an emperor.

6. Correct answer: Sappho

Sappho (b. 615? B.C.) ran a school for poets on the Aegean island of Lesbos (Mytilini). The poet Erinna of Telos was said to be Sappho's most promising student. Praxilla of Sicyon was famed for the drinking songs she wrote in fifth-century Athens.

7. Correct answer: Shi Dun

An empress in ancient China, Shi Dun invented paper with the help of a staff member. Hypatia of Alexandria (355? - 415 CE) was an accomplished ancient Greek philosopher. Gargi was a philosopher of ancient India whose name appears in Vedic literature.

8. Correct answer: Murasaki Shikibu

Murasaki Shikibu (978?-1026?) wrote the novel The Tale of Genji about court life in the Heian period. Izumi Shikibu (974?-1034?), considered one of Japan's greatest poets, wrote love poetry and diaries that depicted Heian court life. Lady Sarashina (b. 1009?) left detailed diaries covering more than 40 years of Heian culture.

9. Correct answer: Nefertiti

Often depicted in ancient Egyptian art, Nefertiti (14th century B.C.) was renowned for her great beauty. Kiya, another wife of Akhnaten, was probably Tutankhamen's mother.

10. Correct answer: Amazons

Ultimately defeated by the Athenians, the Amazonian armies became prominent in Greek mythology. At the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, women worshipped Artemis and performed war dances. The women of Sarmatia, an ancient region of Eastern Europe, were great warriors; they are thought to be descendants of the Amazons.






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