According to a UN Women report, one in three women worldwide is a victim of violence, either physical or sexual. A UNICEF study also reveals over 500 million women and girls worldwide have been denied access to basic sanitary equipment and facilities. These are undeniable facts!
International Women’s Day is celebrated yearly to celebrate women’s achievements in the fight against discrimination and gender-based violence. The first international women’s Day was held in 1911. At least a million people graced the day in Austria and other parts of the world.
Over 300 demonstrations were witnessed as women protested, demanding equal rights to vote, hold public office, and be considered for better jobs. We got you if you’re looking to learn more about this day. That’s why we’ve put together this guide.
What is the International Women’s Day?
First things first! What’s international women’s day? Simply put, international women’s day is a global event for celebrating women’s social, political, economic, and cultural achievements.
It is celebrated annually on March 8th by governments, NGOs, and corporates. It’s an official holiday in some countries like Afghanistan, Armenia, Belarus, Cambodia, Burkina Faso, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Vietnam.
The colors of the international women’s day celebration are purple, white, and green. While purple represents justice and dignity, white and green symbolize purity and hope. These colors were first used by the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908.
Why is International Women’s Day Celebrated?
Women have always experienced all types of injustices since time immemorial. International women’s day is celebrated for many reasons. The primary reason for marking this global event is to advocate for gender parity. The day is also considered important for;
- Celebrating women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements.
- Raising awareness concerning women’s equality.
- Raising funds for women-based charities.
What Activities Take Place on International Women’s Day?
There’s no special way to mark this day. So, everyone is free to do it whatever way they please. You can decide to;
- Champion the fight for women’s rights
- Celebrate milestones and successes
- Send flowers and cards to celebrate the women in your life
- Throw a party
International Women’s Day History
International women’s day has been celebrated for over a century. The movement started in 1908 during the industrial revolution. if you’ve done Women trivia questions game before, you’ll know that first international gathering was held in 1911. Below is the breakdown of international women’s day history over time.
- 1908–the movement began in 1908 when 15,000 women marched in New York City to protest against women’s oppression and inequality. They wanted shorter work hours, better pay, and the right to vote.
- 1909–the first National Woman’s Day was observed on February 28 in the United States.
- 1910–Copenhagen hosted the International Conference of Working Women. This is where the idea of International Women’s Day was birthed.
- 1911–the first international women’s day was celebrated in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Denmark on 19 March.
- 1913-1914–Russian women celebrated their first international women’s day. Also, 8th March was decided as the official day to observe international women’s day. In 1914, women in Europe held protests to campaign against world war I and to show women’s solidarity.
- 1917–Russian women staged a protest after over 2 million Russian soldiers lost their lives in World War I. They also attained the right to vote in the same year.
- 1975-1977–the United Nations celebrated international women’s day for the first time in 1975. Later in December 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to observe the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. All Member States can observe and celebrate it on any day.
- 2000–the fight for women’s rights and energy around international women’s day began to dwindle.
- 2001–The internationalwomensday.com was launched to rejuvenate the almost dying international women’s day.
Two decades have passed since 2001, and the fight for gender parity is still on. Though a lot has been achieved, there’s still more to be done! Injustices against women and girls should stop. We can only realize it when we continue to champion women’s rights everyday–not only on international women’s day!