Women have come a long way in this world, and rightfully so that progress is honored every year on March 8. What is International Women’s Day, you ask? Obviously, we don’t need a designated holiday to celebrate the ongoing strength and courage of women, because women are so amazingly awesome that we should be celebrated every single day, but it’s nice to have a day to appreciate the hard work made by previous generations in the fight for gender equality. And, that’s exactly what International Women’s Day is all about.
“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities”. [Source: United Nations]
The progress women have made since the first International Women’s Day in 1908 is seriously impressive. It all started when 15,000 amazing women marched through the streets of New York City that year demanding shorter work hours, better pay, and the right to vote. Fast forward to today, and we’re not only voting, but we might soon have elected the first ever woman president.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2016
“The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.
The idea of this theme is to consider how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, especially goal number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. The theme will also focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.”
[Source: United Nations]
International Women’s Day facts
1. It wasn’t always celebrated on March 8
The holiday is now celebrated on March 8 every year, but for the first five years, it was celebrated on Feb. 28. Then, in 1913-1914, Russian women celebrated International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February. International Women’s Day was transferred to 8 March that same year and has remained the global date for the event ever since.
2. The meaning of the holiday has evolved
It began as a massive protest by women who wanted better working conditions, better pay, and the right to vote. But since then, the holiday has evolved into a day of awareness on women’s progress in the ongoing fight for gender equality, and a day to address issues across the globe that directly affect women.
3. It’s an official holiday in 27 countries
4. It started as a day, and is now celebrated all month long in the U.S.A.
The U.S. now uses the entire month of March to celebrate women’s history. President Obama was responsible for making March Women’s History Month, starting in 2011. We certainly deserve a whole month, isn’t it?
5. Google loves the ladies
Make sure to check Google’s homepage on March 8, as it continues to honor IWD each year with a themed doodle. [Source: Mirror]
6. The ladies get mimosa
It is traditional on this day to give yellow Mimosa flowers to women as a sign of respect and solidarity. Women give Mimosa to each other as well. Especially in Italy this tradition is largely alive.
7. Take action
There are many ways you can be part of the International Women’s Day celebrations this year. IWD’s website offers options to take action, like marches, how host your own gender parity event, and information on why this is such a global necessity.