International Women’s Day invigorates equality between women and men. Women get stronger rights, and they partake in economic and political spheres. It is held every year with a different theme. For this year, 2021, the theme for the campaign is #ChooseToChallenge. It’s a call-to-action to choose to challenge and call out gender prejudice and disparity.
International Women’s Day is celebrated in several countries around the world. It is a day to celebrate the countless achievements of women globally. There is no regard to divisions of nation, ethnicity, language, culture, economics, or politics in this celebration. With the advent of International Women’s Day, its global significance has increased across the globe for women in developed and developing countries alike. Four global UN women’s conferences have played a prominent role in amplifying the commemoration, which serves as a rallying point to push for women’s rights and participation in the economic and political arenas.
History of International Women’s Day
1908 – Movement in the United States
It was on 28th February when the first National Women’s Day was recognized in the United States. In 1908, the New York garment workers’ strike resulted in this day being declared, in which women protested against working conditions.
1910 – Europe’s turn
The Socialist International meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, introduced a Women’s Day, international in character, to honour the movement for women’s rights and to develop support for attaining universal suffrage for women.
1911 – First celebrations
It is recognized in several European and U.S. nations as an international women’s day. But this celebration appears on 19th March, in remembrance of the revolution of 1848 and of the “Commune de Paris.” Along with the right to vote and hold public office, they also demanded that women have the right to work, vocational training, and an end to discrimination at work.
1913 – Russian women take the power
During World War I, International Women’s Day became a protest against the suffering of women across the globe in a way that has been replicated ever since. Russia’s first International Women’s Day was observed the weekend of the last Sunday in February as part of the peace movement. At a similar time in Europe, it has been documented that on 8th March, on or around that date, there were women protesting the war or expressing solidarity with other activists.
1915 – Tired of war
The Great War is raging in the background, and on 15th April, a huge group of women gathers in The Hague (The Netherlands). More than 1,300 women from over 12 countries participated in the conference.
1917 – The right to vote in Russia
Contrast this to the backdrop of war, women in Russia chose to protest and strike for “Bread and Peace” on Sunday, the last day of the month, on 8th March of the Gregorian calendar. The Czar abdicated four days later, and the provisional Government allowed women to vote.
Now – The celebration spreads
World war II brought the beginning of International Women’s Day to many countries. The UN began to celebrate International Women’s Day in 1975, marking 8th March as International Women’s Day. The General Assembly enacted a resolution for the observance of the Day of Peace and Human Rights at the United Nations in 1977 in accordance with its national and historical traditions. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action signed by 189 countries in 1995 discusses 12 areas of concern, including “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” This was added as one of the goals in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Why 8th March?
19th March, the last Sunday of February, 15th April, and 23rd February are some of the major dates for the IWD movement. Whence, then, did the 8th be? In 1917, according to the Gregorian calendar, 23rd February in Russia was 8th March in the other European countries.
Hence, 8th March is celebrated as International Women’s Day around the globe today!
International Women’s Day celebration in Vancouver 2021
With the theme of this year’s campaign, Vancouver’s skyline is lit up with purple lights the night before Women’s day to celebrate the women’s day and examine the existing gender inequalities. Amidst pandemic, people chose to celebrate women’s day virtually.
Source: International Women’s Day