International Women's Day began in the early 1900's which was a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world: there was a booming population and a rise in radical ideologies. A critical debate was occurring amongst women: their oppression and inequality prompted them to become active and to campaign for a change. In 1908, a group of 15,000 women decided to march together through New York City demanding better pay, shortened work hours and voting rights.
Since then, International Women's Day has become an official holiday; a day to celebrate women's achievements and promote equal rights for men and women. Although great improvements have been made, placing more women in boardrooms, greater equalities in legislative rights and an increase in critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models, women are still not paid equally to their male counterparts. Globally, women's education, health and violence against them is worse than that of men.
International Women's day is celebrated in Greece, however, two major events in the last five years stand out to the Greek Public. In 2012, Greece saw the largest violation of women's rights when just before the national elections, hundreds of women were arrested in Athens and force-tested for HIV. The 26 people who were arrested on felony charges of threatening serious bodily harm, all had one thing in common: they were all women and all HIV positive. Those diagnosed positive were imprisoned and remained there for more than seven months, awaiting trial, deprived of their essential medication including the loss of their right to privacy. Their photos were made public in all major Greek media outlets making it impossible for them to return to a normal life.
This large violation of Women's rights is one of the major issues which still needs to be resolved around the world. Despite the progress women have made since the early 1900s, statistics
Last year, hundreds of women members of the "Federation of Greek Women" (ΟΓΕ), marched together to the headquarters of the European Union in central Athens and symbolically burned a EU flag to mark international women's day 2014.
Many changes have been made by women gathering together and rising to challenge the government and the state. International Women's Day marks a day of change and moving forward, but does the continuation of this celebration prompt more uprisings thus creating more problems? The celebrated holiday in more than 30 countries has helped women all over the world with the UN has announcing that this year's International Women's Day will "highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women's rights.