Lauren Webster (6)
March 5, 2021
Posted by Home (ENG)
In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote.
A year later, The Socialist Part of America declared the first National Women’s Day.
In 1910, Clara Zetkin, Käte Duncker, Paula Thiede and other women suggested making the day international and annual. 100 women from 17 countries agreed, with the view to promote equal rights including suffrage for women.
It wasn’t until 1975 that the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day.
We still have a long way to go to reach equality for women, with it being expected to take more than 100 years. It’s not going to happen in our lifetimes.
But what have we achieved?
In 1918, women over 30 were given the right to vote in the UK. Ten years later, in 1928, women over the age of 21 could vote. In Saudi Arabia, it was only six years ago in 2015. In The Vatican, they still can’t.
The UK’s first birth control clinic was opened in 1921 by Marie Stopes.
The first female solicitor in the UK was Carrie Morrison in 1922.
In 1939, Vivien Leigh became the first British Actress to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Gone with the Wind.
Queen Elizabeth II became queen in 1952 following her Uncle’s abdication and her father’s death. In 2015, she became the UK’s longest reigning monarch. She is still on the throne today.
Married women were able to get the contraceptive pill through the NHS in 1961. Single women were able to get it in 1967.
The first female judge of a county court was Elizabeth Lane, appointed in 1962. She later became the first female judge of the High Court, in 1965.
In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of the UK.
1982 saw Josephine Reynolds become the UK’s first female firefighter.
Helen Sharman became the first female British Astronaut in 1991. The same year, Stella Rimington became first female director of the MI5.
Alison Hargreaves climbed the north face of the Eiger in the Alps whilst six months pregnant with her son in 1988. In 1995, she became the first female and third person to reach the top of Mount Everest without a partner or extra oxygen. Alison sadly passed away descending K2 later that year.
In 1997, Marjorie Scardino became the first female Chief Executive of a FTSE 100 company when she was appointed CEO of Pearson. In 2021, there are still only 7 female CEOs in the FTSE 100.
Margaret Beckett became the first female Foreign Secretary in 2006, followed by Jacqui Smith who became the first female Home Secretary in 2007. The same year, Clare Smyth became the first female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin Stars.
Musical powerhouse Adele became the first female singer to have two singles and two albums in the UK Top 5 at the same time in 2011 (this was previously achieved in 1963 by The Beatles). In 2012, her album ‘21’ became the first album in UK chart history to reach three million sales in less than a year. As if she hadn’t achieved enough, in 2015, her song ‘Hello’ became the fastest video to ever reach one billion views on YouTube.
Before the birth of Prince George in 2013, the Royal Succession Law was changed so the first born would be next in succession to the throne, regardless of sex.
Only 4 years ago, in 2017, Cressida Dick was appointed as the first female Met Police Commissioner. Also in 2017, Jodie Whittaker became the first female Dr. Who.
Just a couple of months ago, Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first female Vice President in US history.
So, we have really come a long way. Women have achieved incredible things and I, for one, am proud to be a woman. We still have a long way to go, and hopefully generations to come will continue to change the world in a positive way so that one day, true equality can be achieved.
Happy International Women’s Day!
P.S. Men, your day is on November 19th!