1851: Sojourner Truth delivers ‘Ain’t I A Woman?’ speech
Sold at auction with a flock of sheep in New York in 1806, African-American Sojourner Truth (born Isabella Baumfree) managed to escape slavery and became one of the world’s first women’s rights activists. She was the first black woman to win a case against a white man when she fought for her son to be returned to her in 1828, and delivered her most famous speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in 1851. “I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man,” she said.
1911: The first ever International Women’s Day
More than one million people marched for women’s rights on the very first International Women’s Day, celebrated around the world. Devastatingly, just one week later a factory fire killed more than 145 women workers, drawing attention to the terrible working conditions they suffered. The tragedy led to the development of laws surrounding workplace safety in the US.
1912: The suffragette movement gathers steam
The tireless work of suffragettes worldwide reached fever pitch in the early 1900s. Elizabeth Arden (yes, that Elizabeth Arden) famously marched past her Red Door Salon on 5th Avenue with her fellow suffragettes in 1912, all wearing red lipstick as a symbol of solidarity and strength. The following year, Emmeline Pankhurst delivered her powerful ‘Freedom or Death’ speech: “I want to say to you who think women cannot succeed, we have brought the government of England to this position, that it has to face this alternative: either women are to be killed or women are to have the vote.” She spoke just months after suffragette Emily Davison was trampled to death by King George V’s horse.
1913: Marie Curie awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry
Alarming anyone who assumed women weren’t as smart as men.
1961: The contraceptive pill makes its way to Australia
At first only available to married women (and even then some staunch Catholics refused to prescribe it), the pill gave women unprecedented freedom over their own bodies.
1973: Billie Jean King wins the Battle of the Sexes
Brought to vivid life in the 2017 film of the same name, the tennis match Billie Jean King played (and won) against former number one champion Bobby Riggs was the most watched televised sporting event in history. Billie Jean continued to campaign for pay equality in sport.
1975: International Women’s Year
The United Nations held its first World Conference On Women in what it named International Women’s Year, paving the way for International Women’s Day, which has been held on March 8th ever since. The Whitlam government committed more than $3.3-million to the movement over the course of the next two years, the ABC reports.
1995: Hilary Clinton delivers historic speech
“Women’s rights are human rights,” Hilary Clinton declared at the United Nations Fourth World Conference On Women in Beijing. “Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely — and the right to be heard,” she said. Her address resonated with women in China and beyond – and was a slap in the face to the advisors who tried to convince her that as First Lady, it wasn’t her place to speak on political issues. Ms Clinton went onto to run for president.
2014: Emma Watson spearheads the HeForShe movement
“For the record, feminism by definition is: “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities,” Emma Watson told the crowd at the United Nations HeForShe launch. “We want to end gender inequality—and to do that we need everyone to be involved.” Watson has been vocal in her support of the feminist movement and her work to “galvanise as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality.”
2017: Women’s Marches around the world
A worldwide protest against inequality, the Women’s March saw hundreds of thousands of women (and many men) march for legislation on issues we all care about, from women’s rights to healthcare reform, reproductive rights to immigration. Women took to the streets on the same date again in 2018.
On International Women’s Day (March 8th), Elizabeth Arden will launch their March On campaign, an ode to the brand’s history of empowering women and a pledge to continue their support. Championed by Reese Witherspoon, who has proven a fierce advocate for the Time’s Up and Me Too movements in Hollywood, the March On campaign includes a limited edition red lipstick, the entire proceeds of which will be donated to UN Women.
Buy yours here and show solidarity with the original suffragettes, who wore red lipstick as a symbol of women’s strength.