International Women’s Day (IWD) is commemorated on March 8 every year, as it has been since 1910, when Clara Zetkin, a German politician, suggested the annual date as a global observance of the American National Women’s Day inaugurated the year before.
The day was hardly considered a ‘celebration’ however. It was designed to concentrate demands by women for better working and social conditions. Better pay, shorter hours and the right to vote were the three tenets of the movement that attracted more than one million people to march through cities in Europe, America and Britain in 1911.
The issue of working conditions was brought tragically to the attention of the world just a week later, when the horrendous ‘Triangle Fire’ in New York City claimed the lives of 123 women working in cramped, unsafe conditions in the Manhattan shirt factory. The stairwells and fire exits had been blocked, to make sure the women didn’t take unauthorised breaks.
The ‘great war’ assured the continuance of IWD, albeit in the pursuit of peace, but the movement grew and eventually conditions were improved, and the equality gap began to narrow.
Some optimism was evident when the United Nations officially ratified IWD in 1975 and introduced the first ‘theme’ in 1996: “Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future”. In 2021 that theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’. Their website states “A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.”
The women of the Greyhound Racing community have embodied that phrase. They have been challenged and have assumed responsibility, and for many, it is all day, every day.
The thoughts and actions of the women in racing – in the whole community for that matter – have shaped the state of the sport into the healthy, vigorous and optimistic industry it is.
While it’s true these standards can’t be applied to the whole world, and there is still work to be done, we can make sure we set the bar for others to follow, just like we do as some of the most respected greyhound racing participants in the world.
‘Make every day International Women’s Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.’
Read more about their stories HERE.
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