International Women’s Day: Celebrating Progress and Continuing the Fight for Equality
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8th every year to acknowledge the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide. It is also a day to raise awareness about the ongoing fight for gender equality and to honor the sacrifices and contributions of women in history. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity, and according to the official IWD website, it is important to point out why equal opportunities aren’t enough, since “People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action”!
The History of International Women’s Day
The first “Women’s day” was celebrated on March 28th,1908 in New York City. However, the first IWD, as we know it today, was celebrated in 1911 in different countries such as Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. The idea of an International Women’s Day was proposed by Clara Zetkin, a German socialist and feminist, during the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910. The main focus of the first IWD was to demand equal rights, including the right to vote, for women.
The date of March 8th was chosen as the official date for IWD in 1913 to commemorate the women who died in a textile factory fire in New York City in 1908. The tragedy claimed the lives of 129 women who were locked inside the factory and unable to escape. The incident brought to light the poor working conditions that women faced, and it became a catalyst for the labor movement and women’s rights.
The Status of Women’s Rights Today
While significant progress has been made in women’s rights over the years, gender inequality still exists in many parts of the world. Women continue to face discrimination in education, employment, and politics. According to the World Economic Forum, it will take another 99.5 years to achieve gender equality in the workplace.
Women also face a disproportionate amount of violence and harassment. In some countries, women are still forced into marriage, subjected to genital mutilation, and denied basic human rights.
How Women’s Day is Celebrated Around the World
International Women’s Day is celebrated in different ways around the world. In some countries, it is a national holiday, while in others, it is a day of protest. In some countries, women are given flowers, gifts, and chocolates to show appreciation for their contributions.
In India, for instance, International Women’s Day is a national holiday, and women participate in rallies and marches to demand better rights and greater equality. In South Africa, it is celebrated with a week-long series of events, including conferences, performances, and exhibitions. In the United States, it is marked by events and activities organized by women’s organizations and feminist groups.
In recent years, the #MeToo movement has brought attention to the issue of sexual harassment and assault against women. The movement has inspired women around the world to speak out against these injustices and demand change.
Continuing the Fight for Equality
International Women’s Day is a reminder of the progress that has been made in women’s rights and the work that still needs to be done. It is a day to celebrate the achievements of women and to acknowledge the continued struggle for gender equality. As we move forward, it is important to remember the sacrifices of the women who came before us and to continue to fight for a more just and equal world not just for women around the world, but for everyone!
You can find more information on IWD on the official website: