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International Women’s Day

Ministry of Women’s Affairs Celebrates International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day will be celebrated in Wellington tomorrow (Thursday 8 March 2001) at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs with a lunch for around 100 people.

The lunch will be hosted by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to observe International Women’s Day and commemorate the sacrifices and gains made by women – both historically and globally - for equal rights.

Guest speaker Mai Chen of Chen Palmer & Partners, Public Law Specialists, will speak about paid parental leave, pay parity and women’s contribution in the public sector.

Formerly a senior lecturer at the Law School, Victoria University, Wellington, Mai Chen is a founding partner of Australasia’s first public law specialist firm.

The lunch will be held in the Ministry’s Boardroom on Level 1, Hitachi Data Systems House, 48 Mulgrave St, Thorndon. Mai Chen will speak between 12.30 and 1.00pm. Wellington based media are welcome to attend. Please call reception (ph: 473 4112) to confirm.


Backgrounder to International Women’s Day

March 8 (tomorrow) is observed world-wide as International Women’s Day.

In 1910, Clara Zetkin, of Germany, had first proposed that a day be set aside each year for the purpose of demonstrations for women’s suffrage.

The first public celebration of the day was held in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland and the United States in 1911. More than a million women participated. In addition to the right to vote and to hold public office they demanded the right to work, to vocational training and for an end to discrimination at work.

In Britain International Women’s Day did not become an annual event until after World War II. Americans did not recognise the international status of the day until 1916 and then celebrated it only sporadically.

However the birth of the women’s liberation movement in the late 1960s revived interest and in the 1970s International Women’s Day was celebrated more widely than ever before. In 1978 it was included in a list of holidays officially recognised by the United Nations.

In New Zealand International Women’s Day has become a focus for local and regional activities and events of interest to women.

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