March 8 celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD). This important international holiday originates in the struggles of working women in the U.S. Now is a pivotal time in the history of the fight for women’s liberation. At this moment women are finding their voices, their strength, and solidarity in numbers.
The U.S. has a long history of women rising up against their bosses and demanding economic justice. The first industrial strike in the U.S. was in May 1824, when 102 women workers in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, left their looms after the mill’s owners announced a wage cut. They refused to return to their stations and, instead, gathered the rest of the workers (including children) and took to the streets. They marched to the factory owner’s house while throwing rocks and shouting obscenities. Before the strike ended, the protests affected factories in eight nearby towns. The workers only returned when the factory owners reinstated their wages.