10 women who made world history | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 08.03.2017
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10 women who made world history

For International Women's Day, here are 10 women who ambitiously and fearlessly left their mark on the world.

The German Socialist and women's rights activist Clara Zetkin (1857-1933) was one of main advocates of the establishment of an annual International Women's Day.

She also fought to improve conditions for women through issues such as the eight-hour workday, universal suffrage, equal pay for equal work, state support for children and mothers and equality for women in the German Working Conditions Act.  

The first International Women's Day, in which millions of women participated, took place on March 19, 1911, in Germany, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and the US.

In 1921, the annual day was set on March 8, in remembrance of the women workers' strike in a textile factory in St. Petersburg, during the Russian Revolution in 1917.

Women's Day during the wars

After the First World War, German women were allowed to vote for the first time in elections for the country's constituent assembly. Electoral participation reached 82.3 percent. Under the Nazis, from 1933 -1945, Socialist Parties were forbidden and Women's Day was not celebrated. It was replaced by a Mother's Day in 1932.

Women's Day only became a more important day in the 1980s in West Germany. In former East Germany, on the other hand, it was always greatly celebrated.

Nowadays, several events in support for women's rights are held worldwide on March 8.


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