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By Sonnet

Many folks stateside are not fully aware of International Women’s Day, which is an annual holiday bringing attention to the struggles, achievements, politics, and histories of women worldwide. International Women’s Day is a global event that was started by international socialists in the early 20th Century, and continues in many parts of the world. It is so popular here in Europe that it is used as a marketing tactic in many European stores. Here’s an image Cindy and I took yesterday at (the Spanish chain lingerie/workout gear store) Oysho.


International Women’s Day, however, is more than just a publicity stunt used by moderately priced-to-cheap clothing stores to appeal to women. Rather, it has a long history in women’s activism. As part of my dissertation research on feminist, queer, and anti-war activism, I am delighted to get to participate in Belgrade’s 2016 events. IWD has long been a part of my work as a feminist ever since I first started coming to the Balkans 12 years ago. I have always associated International Women’s Day with women’s resistance against war, sexism, violent masculinity, racism, nationalism, and other forms of oppression.

Since Sartorial Scholars is about fashion and our work in academia, I wanted to bring some praxis (now there’s a classic feminist theory word) into today’s discussion on feminist activism and forms of resistance. For those who may or may not know, Cindy and I are both living abroad (and also happen to be in Belgrade, Serbia together this week). With that in mind, we will be posting images and commentary from Belgrade’s many events on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016.

In the meantime, I strongly encourage those of you who are not familiar with IWD, to read about its history in the international socialist movement, how IWD has become a platform to bring attention to and put an end to violence against women worldwide, and the various themes of 2016 International Women’s Day marches across the world.


Labor and International Women’s Day marchers protesting unsafe work environment and mourning the avoidable tragedy of the Triangle Factory Fire. 1911
German poster promoting IWD 1914 March. Poster reads “Give us Women’s Suffrage”
March 9, 1939, Madame Chiang Kai-shek (Soong Mei-ling) speaks in front of 10,000 Chinese Women for International Women’s Day (Getty Images)


Asian American activists speaking at IWD rally in Chinatown, San Francisco, 1972. Image found at


Poster promoting IWD march in Sydney, Australia in 1982. Artwork by Joyce Stevens
Women rallying in Brazil on IWD in 1988.
2005, International Women’s Day Rally in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Protest was organized by the National Worker Women’s Trade Union.
International Women’s Day rally in Captetown, South Africa, 2011.
Thousands of activists march on IWD 2014 in Manila, Philippines calling attention to economic, social, and political struggles facing women.
IWD protest in Belgrade, Serbia 2013 (Getty)
United Methodist Women March in New York City 2013
Protestors marching in Mexico City on IWD protesting violence against women, 2013. (Reuters)
International Women’s Day in Baghdad, Iraq, 2014 (AP Photos)
Feminist activists marching on IWD in Berlin, Germany 2015
Women protesting for equality on IWD in Rabat, Morocco, 2015
turkis women marching in Istanbul
Turkish women protesting violence against women in Istanbul, Turkey 2015
shoe bike ride
A protester holding up her high heel shoe after a bike race to bring awareness about gender equality and disparities in Mexico City, Mexico. 2015.


More images of women protesting oppression throughout the world on International Women’s Day:

European summary of International Women’s Day:

In closing, I leave you with Joan Baez singing the song Bread and Roses- the first song to mark International Women’s Day.