Happy International Women’s Day: [Women’s] History in the Making

By Amie Knowles

March 8, 2022

International Women’s Day consistently falls on March 8 every year nowadays, but it wasn’t always that way. 

The lead up to the day started back in 1908, when 15,000 women descended on New York City, marching for shorter hours, better pay, and voting rights. The following year, the Socialist Party of America held the first National Woman’s Day on Feb. 28, a Sunday. 

For the next few years, the celebration occurred annually on the last Sunday of February in America. Meanwhile, other countries adopted the holiday, holding their own days in February and March. The first official International Women’s Day event took place in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.

With momentum for the international day spreading, March 8 became the globally designated day for participants by 1914—but that didn’t mean every country adopted the holiday. In fact, it wasn’t until 1975 that the United Nations celebrated International Women’s Day. 

Fast forward to 1980. That year, US President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 2-8 as National Women’s History Week. Seven years later, Congress passed a law allowing US presidents to proclaim March as Women’s History Month.

In Virginia, the month also includes Women Veterans Week, which takes place March 20-26 this year. The fairly new week—held consecutively for just five years, 2022 included—honors the service and sacrifice of women veterans across the commonwealth. 

Virginia Reacts

Individuals, groups, and more celebrated International Women’s Day throughout Virginia. Miss Virginia Tatum Sheppard got in on the action via Instagram, tagging a group of ladies that she called some of her “favorite women.” 

The Virginia Teen Democrats sent out well wishes over Twitter in a post that read: “Happy International Women’s Day! Today, we celebrate the accomplishments that women have made in Virginia as well as the progress we have made (and must protect) in women’s rights.”

The Virginia Health Care Association and Virginia Center for Assisted Living (VHCA-VCAL) publicly thanked all the women devoted to the care of others in Virginia’s long term care centers. The group shared the story of Leesburg’s Heritage Hall nursing director Lynn Winemiller, who recently celebrated her 25th anniversary with the facility—one of the nearly 50,000 staff members for which VHCA-VCAL advocates. 

Also taking to Twitter, the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications—Virginia (NAMIC-Virginia) acknowledged the day, posting: “NAMIC-Virginia celebrates the endless power of women today on International Women’s Day! This day not only celebrates and reflects on progress and accomplishments made on women’s rights, but also brings attention to the obstacles that still stand in their way.”

Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-VA) recognized a number of his colleagues on International Women’s Day, tagging them in a Twitter post for breaking “through the glass ceiling” and “leading us to a more equitable commonwealth.” The female senators included Sen. Jennifer McClellan, Sen. Ghazala Hashmi, Sen. Jennifer Boysko, Sen. Mamie Locke, Sen. Louise Lucas, and Sen. Barbara Favola.

From the lady-led Dogwood team, Happy International Women’s Day—we hope it’s lovely for you.

  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.

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