International Women’s Day

Women in Housing & Finance PA

Happy International Women’s Day


“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”  – Maya Angelou

I was born in the former Soviet Union, now known as Kiev, Ukraine, and grew up celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th. My father gets my mom, myself, and my sister flowers and chocolates.  Any male in the family or community calls (or now texts) wishing all the women in his life a happy March 8th.  It wasn’t until I did some research that I came to understand why this holiday is so meaningful.

The earliest Women’s Day observance, which at the time was called National Women’s Day, was held on February 28, 1909 in New York.  In August 1910, inspired by the New York demonstration, a general meeting occurred in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Delegates, which included 100 women from 17 countries, agreed with the idea as a strategy to promote equal rights including suffrage for women.  The next year on March 19, 1911, IWD was marked for the first time by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.  In 1913, Russian women observed their first IWD on the last Saturday in February.  In 1914, IWD was held on March 8thin Germany and now it is always held on March 8thin all countries.

On March 8, 1917, in the capital of the Russian Empire, women textile workers began a demonstration covering the whole city.  This marked the beginning of the Russian Revolution. Women in Saint Petersburg went on strike that day for “Bread and Peace”, demanding the end of World War I, an end to Russian food shortages, and the end of czarism.  Seven days later, the Emperor of Russia abdicated, and the provisional government granted women the right to vote.  Following the Revolution, IWD was made an official holiday in the Soviet Union but it was a working day until 1965.  The United Nations began celebrating IWD in 1975 and in 1977, the UN General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8thas UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

Since then, the holiday has gained even more popularity with the UN having themes each year, starting in 2012.  International Women’s Day 2019 campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter (  In Russia, IWD has lost the political context through time and has become a day simply to honor women.  In some countries, such as Bulgaria and Romania, it is also observed as an equivalent to Mother’s Day.  In Italy, to celebrate the day, men give yellow mimosas to women.

All in all, March 8thsignifies the past troubles of women (though I acknowledge they aren’t all over yet) while also celebrating feminism.  However, despite the increased attention on March 8th, remember to celebrate yourselves everyday – you deserve it!

Happy International Women’s Day!

Rada Lisitsa, WHF-PA Member

“Behind every successful woman, is a community of other successful women who have her back!” – Unknown

Women in Housing and Finance PA Members

Alexandra Moorhead Sherick Project Management
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Ali Mooney
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Beth Graham Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.
Beth Greenberg LeadingAge PA
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Brooke Schipporeit Self Determination Housing Project of PA
Carrie Rathmann Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia
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Cecilia Loose Mission First Housing Group
Charles Lewis Conifer Realty, LLC
Cheryl Stulpin Conifer Realty LLC
Christine Paul Diamond & Associates
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Cindy Picone a.m. RODRIGUEZ ASSOCIATES inc.
Dana Hanchin Housing Development Corporation MidAtlantic
Danielle Simons SeniorCare Network
Danika Dallam SAA Architects
Deborah J. Seitz Lenhardt Rodgers Architecture + Interiors
Elaine Magil TCAM
Elizabeth Beckett Real Estate Strategies, Inc.
Elizabeth Harriger McKonly & Asbury LLP
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Erin Hart American HealthCare Group
Heidi Griages Allied Construction Services II, Inc.
Imani Hamilton Wells Fargo
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Jaquelin Camp WRT
Jayne Windham Living Housing, Inc.
Jeanine Dankoff Berman Indictor LLP
Jeanne Fields Fulton Bank
Jennifer Dougherty NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania
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One Comment on “International Women’s Day

  1. Thanks for sharing this background, Rada!! Happy Women’s Day to all!!!


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