The year 1975 was proclaimed the International Women’s Year by the United Nations. The United Nations International Women’s Decade (1976-1985) was a United Nations program with a goal to increase awareness of gender inequality and the status of women in different countries around the world. Throughout the decade there were three world women conferences:
- the first was in 1975 in Mexico City; the outcome produced two documents Declaration of Mexico on the Equality of Women and Their Contribution to Development and Peace and the World Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Women’s Year
- the second was held in Copenhagen in 1980; the outcome was a Programme of Action document
- the third in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985.
The objectives of the first conference were “to promote equality between men and women, to ensure the full integration of women in the total development effort and to promote women’s contribution to the development of friendly relations and co-operation among States and to the strengthening of world peace” (United Nations GA A/RES/3520). This button is from the 3rd conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
United Nations. General Assembly Resolution A/RES/3520 (XXX), 15 December 1975. Retrieved from http://www.un-documents.net/a30r3520.htm http://www.un-documents.net/a30r3520.htm
United Nations 1975-1985, um the International Women’s Decade. As you know, the first UN Conference the women was 75 in Mexico City and for the first time the UN brought women together to discuss the situation of women around the world because of the fact that so much came out on the table about women’s lives. Women owned about 95% of the world, women on 1% of the property, women’s lives were, you know, the situation of women’s lives. So as a result of all that came out in 1995, governments were unsure of how to move and UN said “okay, we’ll give you 10 more years and in 10 years, gender equality we should reach some sort of equity.” And 1975 was in Mexico City and 1985 was in Nairobi. Uh, in 1975 we have Kay Livingstorn who was really, we called a founding member of the Congress of Black Women of Canada. She was at the 1975 conference, she was in the preparatory work for the conference. Um, and I went to the conference in Nairobi, in Kenya in 1985 together with people like Glenda Sims and Karen Braithwaite and Eva Smith that Eva’s initiative is named after. And a whole group of us participated in the whole women’s conference in Nairobi and we stayed n Africa and toured in Africa after that. But if you can see this here is the shield of the map of Kenya, you can see the Status of Women logo and you can see the symbol that says women; the circle with the cross at the bottom. So I think I picked this up in Kenya at that conference; the International. women’s conference in Nairobi, 1985.
International Women’s Day (IWD) was first celebrated on March 19, 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland (UN Women, 2012). It was not until 1975, during International Women’s Year, that the United Nations began celebrating IWD on March 8. It is thought that March 8th was selected to commemorate the first strike by female textile and garment workers in 1857 .The slogan “Bread and Roses” was used by strikers, mostly women, in 1912 for equal pay (bread) and better working conditions (roses). The slogan was inspired by James Oppenheim’s poem “Bread and Roses”; particularly the quote: “Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses”. In the mid-70s Oppenheim’s poem was later transformed into the song “Bread and Roses”. Sung by Mimi Farina, the song later became a popular anthem for women’s rights group.
Prior to 1986, black women were not well aware of the significance of International Women’s Day (I.W.D.) because it was felt that “the women’s movement and the organizers of I.W.D. celebrations [had] made little or no attempts in the past to actively involve black and other visible minority women” (Benjamin,1987, p. 3). However, in 1986 the IWD theme, ”Women Say No to Racism from Toronto to South Africa” highlighted the issue of racism and sexism faced by visible minority women. This theme reflected a shift in the participation of visible minority women as well as the recognition of the “double jeopardy” (racism and sexism) faced by visible minority women.
Benjamin, A. (1987). Participate in IWD. Speak out, 1(2), p.3. Jean Augustine fonds Box 2007-022/006(02).
Kennedy, J. (1988, Mar 07). Bread & roses; tomorrow is International Women's Day. The Gazette.
Ross, R. S. (2013). Bread and Roses: Women Workers and the Struggle for Dignity and Respect. Workingusa, 16(1), 59-68. doi:10.1111/wusa.12023
This is again, 1980, International Women’s Day. The whole notion, you know the notion of bread and roses? And the notion of bread and roses speaks to those who have and those who are struggling, you know, and the difficulties that there are for people. And so again, a symbol of women and marking International Women’s Day, March the 8th, 1980. There’s a theme each year that the community picks up and I think this is the theme. Usually the women’s community or the women’s organization in Canada in various cities there are marches, there are concerts, all kind of events marking International. women’s day. And there’s always a theme around the women organization—I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a labour union um, aspect to this button.
This is a government one; International Women’s Day. And again, Journe de Nationale-- and it shows women here in different roles and I think it was focused on women in the Americas. If you notice the South America and North America in the middle, the globe. And then all the activities that women are involved in, you can see in this circle, so again, March the 8th which is International. Women’s Day, so that was a button that was struck for that.