March 8th is International Women’s Day and it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate – not only all the accomplishments women make every day – but also, a continuing effort to increase awareness and support for gender equality.
Its observance dates back more than a century with the first informal recognition held in 1909. Since then, it has been formally recognized by the United Nations and is celebrated around the world.
The special day is meant as a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It’s also a call to action using large event gatherings to highlight issues of equal rights and the women’s rights movement.
IWD is marked by rallies, discussions, events, and performances themed around the significance and contributions of women. Look for different, specific celebrations or gatherings in your local town or city.
Alongside still relevant motivations surrounding more women holding political office and addressing the pay gap, there is also an increased focus on raising the awareness towards the disproportionate amount of abuse women suffer at the hands of others.
Hundreds of millions of women still suffer from institutional and systemic abuse at the hands of other and it’s something we need to continue addressing. Recently, the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have also been wrapped in and acknowledged by greater female communities to stand up and end sexual harassment and abuse against women in and outside of the workplace.
The first “women’s day” was observed in 1909. Thousands of women marched through the streets of New York demanding improved pay, shorter hours, and voting rights. The day was mostly assocaited with socialist movements and communist countries in the following decades.
In 1975, the United Nations proclaimed the year International Women’s Year and christened March 8th as Women’s Day.
An annual “international women’s day” was first organized by German socialist and theorist Clara Zetkin along with 100 delegates from 17 countries in March 1911.
When it first began, women were demanding that they be given the right to vote – attained in Britain in 1918 but only just last year in Saudi Arabia – to hold public office and to be given equal employment rights as men.
Today, the global percentage of women in positions of power, especially government, continue to disproportionately low and IWD helps highlight that continuing gap.
This year’s theme is #PressForProgress meant to emphasize and empower everyone (not just women) to put pressure on ourselves, society, government, and the workplace to push for more visible progress for women and minorities.
Women and allies from all walks of life are encouraged to respectfully rise up and build power through advocacy over issues of equality and harassment. #PushForProgress aims to push for gender parity worldwide.
Let’s come together to celebrate IWD, women everywhere, their endless contributions to the world, and make a call for equality.