On 8 March we celebrate it once again: it is International Women’s Day. But why do we celebrate International Women’s Day? What is it all about?
Here you will learn everything important about the development of the role of women and get to know some important women from history.

International Women´s Day women 1900 19th century

The roles of women in the past

1. housewife, wife and mother
Yes, your great-grandmothers and grandmothers might still know it: “You are supposed to play with dolls and help in the household. Get used to being a housewife and mother.” Yes, from a very early age, girls were prepared for their future roles. The role of the woman back then: Marry, have children, period. And that was it. Other interests? They were suppressed. The maximum a woman could be trusted to do: Painting, needlework, and activities useful in the home.

2. Education and career
In many cultures women used to receive less education. They would never be able to use it anyway, as they were only supposed to sit at home. Even if a woman received a good education, that was usually the end of the story. She “had to” marry and then give herself up to her role as a housewife. The right to pursue a career and to be taken seriously was usually reserved for men. If a woman did have to work, this was often a sign that the man could not provide for the family sufficiently. No surprise, therefore, that until 1958 men could decide whether their wives were allowed to go to work.

3. Politics>/strong>
For a long time, women had a right of co-determination and also no right to become active in politics themselves. After a long struggle for this right, the first election was held in 1919, where women could vote and be elected equally.

4. Science
Since ancient times there have been women who were active in science. In the Middle Ages women and men were taught separately in academic education. In early modern times, women were not even admitted to universities. This was sometimes due to the fact that they were not taken seriously and were thought to have less “intelligence” than men. They were simply denied the right to a university education. Until 1918 women could be excluded from courses. In the late 19th century, the situation improved again and women could again study at universities. Now, just 120 years later, it is unimaginable that women are not allowed to study.

International Women´s Day women 1900 19th century

How has the situation and role of women changed? Why are we allowed to celebrate International Women’s Day today? Thanks to strong women and social rethinking. Among others, the following ladies contributed to this:

Strong women who made history. The world is full of them. And the world benefits from the fact that women (were allowed to) be treated equally. We should not take this for granted and always remember, not only on International Women’s Day, how women in the past had to stand up for the rights we enjoy today.

Nicole Haugg

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