International Women’s Day – March 8 is the day when the women’s struggle for economic, political and social equality with men is celebrated. On March 8, the International Women’s Day was proclaimed by the United Nations in order to mark the role of an ordinary woman in history, as well as her struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.

In the Socialist Party of Germany (SPD), Clara Zetkin along with Rosa Luxemburg, her close friend and person of trust, was one of the main figures of the party’s ultimate revolutionary wing. In a revisionism debate at the beginning of the 20th century, she, together with Luxembourg, attacked the reformist theses of Edward Bernstein.

Cetkin was very interested in politics towards women, including the fight for equal opportunities and the right to vote for women. She developed the social democratic movement for women in Germany; from 1891 to 1917 she edited the women’s newspaper SPD Die Gleichheit (Equality). In 1907 she became the leader of the newly created “women’s bureau” of the SPD. She started the first “International Women’s Day” on March 8, 1910, starting the idea in Copenhagen.

The first Women’s Day was celebrated on 28 February 1909 in the United States at the initiative of the Socialist Party of America. In 1910, the First International Women’s Conference was held under the auspices of the Second International in Copenhagen, and it was decided to celebrate International Women’s Day, but without setting a precise date. The following year, on March 19, 1911, this holiday was first celebrated by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. On March 8, 1913, women throughout Europe held peace rallies. After the victory of the Bolsheviks in Russia, and on the initiative of Alexander Kolontaj, March 8 was declared a state holiday.

The symbolism of this holiday should be the actualization of the requirements for improving the conditions of work of women and the qualitative improvement of their social and political status in the society.

The Republic of Macedonia works significantly in all fields – economic, political, social and health – in order to improve and facilitate the lives of every woman in this society.

Our country successfully follows and works according to the following international conventions and declarations:

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
  • European Convention on Human Rights
  • Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings and Transnational Organized Crime
  • Palermo Protocol – European Council of Europe Convention to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings.

Women’s rights also include women’s health. It is a state of emotional, social, cultural, mental and physical well-being of women, which is simultaneously determined by their social and economic status, as well as by their biological characteristics.

Women have the right to enjoy the highest available standards of physical and mental health. The enjoyment of this right is vital to their life and well-being, as well as their ability to participate in all fields of public and private life.

Women’s needs in terms of health and health care are recognized and regulated in the domestic legislation, primarily in the Law on Health Care, the Law on Health Insurance, the Law on the Protection of Patients’ Rights, as well as in the Programs of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia that are under the authority of the Ministry of Health, in particular the National Annual Program for Public Health, the Program for Early Detection of Malignant Diseases, the Program for Active Health Protection of Mothers and Children in the Republic of Macedonia, the Health for All Program in which activities for improving the health of women are planned, regular walking on preventive examinations, screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, etc.

Together we should work on raising awareness to improve women’s rights, equalizing them with men and equal access in all spheres of social life.