International Women’s Day nominations sought

January 27, 2009
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720,

Kern County will celebrate "International Women's Day," the story of ordinary women as makers of history, on Sunday, March 8 at 6 p.m. at the Petroleum Club. The evening will honor women who have made significant contributions to our region with a dinner and awards ceremony. Nominations will be accepted through Saturday, Jan. 31 and can be made online at [ ]

The idea of an International Women's Day first arose at the turn of the previous century. On March 8, 1857, women from New York City's clothing and textile factories protested poor working conditions and low wages. More protests followed on March 8 in subsequent years, most notably in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding better work conditions and voting rights.

The first National Women's Day was observed across the United States in 1909. International Women's Day was established in 1910 to advocate universal suffrage and other rights. The following year, more than 1 million people participated in International Women's Day celebrations in several European countries. A few days later, the Triangle Factory Fire in a New York City tenement factory killed more than 140 garment workers the combination of these two events gave momentum to New York's progressive movement that later was carried to the White House by Theodore then Franklin Roosevelt. In the West, International Women's Day was prominently celebrated through the 1920s, until attention diminished in the 1960s. In 1975, the United Nations began sponsoring International Women's Day.

Kern County began celebrating International Women's Day in 2002, thanks to a collaborative effort by the League of Women Voters and American Association of University Women. Kern County celebrates by simultaneously reflecting on the global and community dimensions and honoring the contributions of local women who are foreign-born. This serves two purposes:

* It raises public awareness and recognition of the immense contributions of the immigrant population.

* It inspires others through powerful examples to do their part to make Kern County an even better place to live.

Representatives from California State University, Bakersfield, the League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women, African-American Network, Kern Community College District, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Korean-American Association of Bakersfield, Latina Leaders of Kern, Muslim Public Affairs Council, National Council of Negro Women, and the Southeast Asian Community help organize the event.

The event is open to the public. Cost is $40 per guest, and includes dinner and entertainment. For more information, log onto or call (661) 832-5884 or (661) 654-3140.