The Real Founder of International Women's Day

I love celebrating and I love women.  So it’s no surprise that I appreciate International Women’s Day.

This March 8 commemorative day began more than 100 years ago.  In its earliest form, it was primarily a socialist effort.  Then the Russians adopted it, and when communism took over in 1917, it helped in the drive to unite all workers.

In mid-20th century  it was utilized in the drive for women’s rights, slowly spreading across the globe.

In Russia it is still a major holiday like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s.  Men buy flowers and gifts for all the women in their lives.  It is an official holiday in many nations, especially much of the former Soviet Union.  But most nations of the world acknowledge it.It is now sponsored every year by the United Nations, with varying emphases.  Increasingly International Women’s Day celebrations focus on honoring women and addressing issues that affect them, such as:

  About 25,000 brides are burned to death each year in South Asia because of insufficient dowries. The groom's family will set the bride on fire, presenting it as an accident or suicide. The groom is then free to remarry.

  In a number of countries, women who have been raped are sometimes killed by their own families to preserve the family's honor.

  According to UNICEF, 100 million to 140 million girls and women have undergone some form of female genital mutilation. Today, this practice is carried out in 28 African countries, despite the fact that it is outlawed in a number of these nations.

  Rape as a weapon of war has been used in many nations.

  Hunger and poverty persist among rural women and children.

But here’s the truth.  International Women’s Day really began more than 2000 years ago.  The one who initiated it?  Jesus.

Throughout His ministry His responses to women were revolutionary.  In a culture in which men “thanked God I’m not a woman” and viewed women as property with few rights, Jesus respected and honored them.  He talked to them, touched them, healed them, shared great spiritual truths with them, sent them out to tell of His resurrection.

Jesus’s amazing valuing of women shines through in the Jesus Film version called Magdalena, subtitled Released from Shame or In Her Eyes, depending on the part of the world.

Take a look at these two scenes—first the woman caught in adultery, and then the woman at the well.  No wonder women have been drawn to worship and  follow Him across all cultures and throughout the centuries.


If watching these two scenes whets your appetite for the whole movie—to see Jesus healing the bent-over woman and the bleeding woman, and casting demons from Mary Magdalene; hear His words to Martha and to Mary--you can find it in several languages here.

What about you?  How has Jesus valued you?

C2014 Judy Douglass