International Women's Day happened earlier this week, on March 8th. After visiting the website to read about this year's campaign - I realized I didn't know much at all about the history of the day.
Did you know it actually began as a National Women's Day here in the US? In 1908, 15,000 women who worked in the garment industry, organized a massive protest in New York City. They were demanding fair wages and hours - and an end to child labor. A National Women's Day was declared to honor the protest, and several years later it became International Women's Day.
That fight hasn't ended. It's still here, in the US, Cambodia, Vietnam - in Bangladesh. Just six years ago, on April 24, 2013 - 1,132 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured when the factory they worked in collapsed. They worked in sweatshop conditions, making garments for western companies that would be sold in companies Primark, Walmart and JC Penney. There were children as young as 13 working 80 hours a week.
Women continue to lead the fight. Whether it's organizing global campaigns to educate consumer about labor conditions, or starting fair trade fashion companies which provide workers with fair wages, safe working conditions, and a voice in their organization. Fair trade companies prohibit forced labor and child labor, and work to build sustainable growth by investing in the communities with healthcare and education. The bottom line - they're choosing people over profits.