Do you know that International Women’s Day or IWD is celebrated on 8 March? That’s right! It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. IWD also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. For 2019, the theme of IWD is #BalanceforBetter.
The earliest Women’s Day observance, called “National Woman’s Day,” was held on February 28, 1909 in New York, organized by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of Theresa Malkiel. In August 1910, an International Socialist Women’s Conference was organized to precede the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, Denmark. Inspired in part by the American socialists, German Socialist Luise Zietz proposed the establishment of an annual Women’s Day. The following year on March 19, 1911, IWD was marked for the first time, by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.
After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, 8 March became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.
IWD observations are different from one country to another. It is a public holiday in some countries but is largely ignored elsewhere. In some places, it is a day of protest; in others, it is a day that celebrates womanhood. In some counties, on IWD it is customary for men to give the women in their lives – friends, mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc. – flowers and small gifts.
If you are a woman, let’s celebrate IWD with families and friends! Let’s be proud of ourselves and our achievements! If you are not a woman, you could still share the spirit by appreciating the women around you. No need to do drastic actions such as rallying a protest. Acknowledge their achievements. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.
How about you? Tell us your favorite IWD activity, or share your most memorable IWD celebration. Have a simple initiative to appreciate the women around you? Share it to us too!