Women are more than pretty faces and beautiful bodies, they are magnificent beings worthy of respect, dignity and equal opportunities. In the early years, the role of women was primarily domestic, women were only allowed to do household work, raise children and transform the home into a haven for the men who faced pressures and dangers at the work place. Matters outside the home were primarily dominated by men.

The rise of industrialization changes the role of women in the society, women no longer wanted to do household jobs as they did not pay. Women desired real jobs with a potential of supporting the family with cash from wages.

Women working in manufacturing companies during the industrial revolution

Despite the minimal opportunities women got to work in factories their lives were being controlled. Women continued to face harsh societal expectations that required them to maintain unachievable standards endorsed by religion and cultures.

However, the income women got from these jobs gave them economic empowerment like never before and this gave women the courage to fight for freedom from oppression. Women lacked rights, recognition, they could not vote or inherit property, they were not allowed to keep any wages, most women were not allowed to work and those who worked had the lowest paying jobs.

Women became completely exhausted with the rigorous work schedules and endless societal expectations and in 1908, against a backdrop of terrible working conditions and exploitation, 15,000 women took to the streets in New York protesting for shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

From this strike, a movement was born and in the next year the Socialist Party of America announced a National Women’s Day to honour the strikers, and in 1910 it went global. In 1911, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated and more than a million people turned out to rallies in Europe.

Women’s day continued to be celebrated throughout the 20th century by people at the grassroots who championed for social justice.  on 8th March, 1975 the United Nations adopted the International Women’s Day celebrations and since then, International Women’s Day has been celebrated annually on 8th of march to celebrate women’s achievements across diverse fields.

This year the Legal Resources foundation trust joined the world in celebrating International Women’s Day at Nairobi Arboretum, in an event hosted by Forum CIV, Swedish embassy and Diakonia. The theme for the International Women’s Day celebration was, “Invest in women: Accelerate progress” and the Legal Resources Foundation towards accelerating this process offered legal aid to the guests present during the event.

This event was graced by various stakeholders and it served as reminder of where women have come from and their achievements do far. Whereas women couldn’t vote, they are now leading countries. While they once faced working restrictions, they are now running corporations.

Now, we have rights our grandmothers could only have dreamed about.

Happy Women’s History Month.