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How China Celebrated International Women’s Day Through the Ages

From strikes and marches to slogans and marketing campaigns, International Women’s Day celebrations in China have taken on many forms over the last century

Today, female workers in China are entitled to half-a-day’s statutory holiday for International Women’s Day, a celebration held every March 8 to honor women’s economic, political, and social achievements, and call for further progress in the march toward gender equality. China has officially celebrated Women’s Day (妇女节 in Chinese) since 1924 when He Xiangning (何香凝), chief of the Kuomintang’s Central Women’s Department, organized a rally in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, where she made a speech to a crowd of 2,000 people, mostly schoolgirls and their teachers, explaining the history and significance of Women’s Day, and encouraging women to fight for their right to vote and against feudal attitudes of Chinese women as the property of their husbands.

The half day holiday, however, was instigated in 1949, after the Communist Party came to power in China. Over the years, methods of celebrating the day have changed from organized marches, speeches, and strikes to recreational activities, sometimes questionable slogans, and brand marketing campaigns. Today, TWOC takes a look at how International Women’s Day has been celebrated in China over the years:

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Yang Tingting is a Chinese editor at The World of Chinese. Interested in telling Chinese stories, she writes mainly about culture, language, and society.

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