What Is International Women’s Day? And Why Do We Celebrate March 8?

International Women’s Day 2017 campaign theme: #BeBoldForChange

International Women’s Day March 8, is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since in the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others.
“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights,” says world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. Thus International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women’s Day has been occurring for well over a century – and continues to grow from strength to strength.

Here are five facts about the day:
1. Originally called International Working Women’s Day, it was first celebrated on February 28, 1909, in New York in remembrance of a 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union when 15,000 workers, including many immigrants, marched through the city’s lower east side to demand social and political rights.
2. The first modern International Women’s Day was held in 1914, five years after its inception, on March 8. The day was chosen because it was a Sunday, which the majority of women would have off work allowing them to participate in marches and other events, and has been celebrated on that date ever since.
3. The day was declared a national holiday in the Soviet Union in 1917, and was predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted by the UN in 1977. Since 1996, the UN has assigned a theme to every IWD. This year’s theme is “Be bold for change”.
4. According to the UN, it is “a day when women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.”
5. The day is now an official holiday in several countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mongolia, Vietnam and Zambia and for women only in countries including China, Madagascar and Nepal.( Source: internationalwomen’sday.com)

 

Happy Women’s Day! Be Bold For Change!!

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