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Did You Know… ? International Women’s Day

Did you know… that International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8th? The very first Women's Day took place in 1909 in New York.

by Totally Local VC
Ventura Women's Suffrage Group c. 1902
Members of the La Loma Club, c. 1902. The women in this club were among the first women to vote in Ventura County. Museum of Ventura County.

Did you know… that International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8th?

On March 8th, people around the world come together to honor the amazing achievements and contributions of women throughout history. It’s a day to recognize the progress women have, and also to recognize that there’s still so much more to do.

A Bit of History

International Women’s Day has been celebrated for more than 100 years, starting back in the early 1900s. Back then, women were standing up against bad working conditions and fighting for their rights. The very first Women’s Day took place on February 28, 1909, in New York, thanks to the Socialist Party of America. This was an historic events as it was one of the first times women came together on a large scale to fight for what they believed in.

From there, this idea spread like wildfire. It wasn’t just about the U.S. anymore – women all over the world started to join in. In 1910, during a conference in Copenhagen, a lady named Clara Zetkin suggested having Women’s Day every year. And, in 1911, over a million women rallied across Europe demanding better working conditions and voting rights on March 8th. This marked the unofficial start of International Women’s Day. It took a while, but eventually, in 1975, the United Nations officially declared March 8th as International Women’s Day

Let’s Celebrate!

100 years of the 19th amendmentWomen’s Day is about the incredible accomplishments of women from all walks of life. Whether it’s in politics, arts, science, or business, women have made huge impacts throughout history. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to recognize all the accomplishments women have made over the years and to inspire more women to chase their dreams. It’s also about pushing for equality between genders and continuing the fight for women’s rights.

Awesome Women in Ventura County

Ventura County has its share of amazing women who’ve made a real difference. Here are just a few of the historic women connected to Ventura County:

  • Theodosia Burr Shepherd (1845-1906). Shepherd was an American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in plant breeding. In 1873, she and her family moved to California in search of a more healthful climate, settling in “Ventura-by-the-Sea.” Called the “Flower Wizard of California,” and “The Pioneer Seed-grower,” Shepherd was the first woman in California, and possibly the first woman in the United States, to hybridize flowers. She encouraged other women to make horticulture a profession by growing flowers and selling seeds – she was seen as an exemplar for women in the profession. The location of her former garden is listed as number 34 in the City of Ventura Historic Landmarks and Districts. Learn more about her here.
Theodosia Burr Shepherd
Theodosia Burr Shepherd
  • Susan B. Anthony (1920 – 1906). In 1896, national suffrage leader Anthony spoke to a packed house for 45 minutes in Ventura’s Armory Hall in support of women’s rights.
  • Maria G. de Lopez (1881 – 1977). In 1911, the first Spanish language suffrage speech in the state was given by de Lopez in Ventura. She went on to deliver the speech across the state helping to bolster the call for women’s rights.
  • Mary Kendall Browne (1891 – 1971). Born in Ventura County, she was a championship tennis player and golfer. Among her many tennis titles, Browne won three consecutive singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles at the U.S. National Championship (now the U.S. Open) in 1912-1914 and won in doubles at Wimbledon in 1924. She joined the first professional tennis tour in 1926 and was one of the first women enshrined in the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1957. As a golfer, she made it to the final of the U.S. Women’s Golf Championships (now the LPGA U.S. Open) in 1926.

And these are just a few examples! There are tons more incredible women locally whose stories deserve to be heard and celebrated.

Challenges and What We’re Doing

Even though we’ve come far, women still face a huge challenge both domestically and globally. Issues such as, violence against women, disparity in incomes between men and women not having the same access to education and healthcare. International Women’s Day is also about shining a light on these issues and supporting efforts to make things better for women and the world.

So, how can you help on International Women’s Day and every day?

Supporting International Women’s Day goes beyond just a single day. Here are some ways you can get involved throughout the year:

  • Educate yourself. Stay informed about the challenges women face globally and locally to be a better advocate for change.
  • Challenge bias. Be mindful of stereotypes and discriminatory behavior. Your voice matters in creating a more equitable world.
  • Support women-led businesses. Choose to buy products and services from businesses owned or run by women whenever possible.
  • Donate to organizations. Support organizations championing women’s rights and causes close to your heart.
  • Mentor and empower other women. Share your wisdom and experiences to uplift other women and foster a community of growth and empowerment.

Let’s Take Action!

International Women’s Day isn’t just about celebrating — it’s about doing something. It’s a reminder of what we’ve achieved and what we still need to do for fairness. By cheering on women’s accomplishments, talking about the challenges they still face, and taking real steps to support women’s rights, we can get closer to a world where everyone’s treated equally.

On March 8th, let’s celebrate women everywhere and commit to being part of the solution. Whether it’s learning more, speaking up, supporting women-run businesses, or simply giving women a platform, every little bit helps. Together, we can make a world where women and girls can truly do anything.

Join us this International Women’s Day as we celebrate the past, present, and future of women’s rights and power. Together, we can make a real difference.

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