International Women’ day is an event which is celebrated worldwide on March 8 of each year. It serves as the focal point in terms of the major movement for women’s rights. It is a day which carries with it a human rights theme which is used to highlight the economic, social, cultural and political achievements made by women. It also aims to showcase how women still have a long way to go, especially in terms of gender equality.
How did the day come to be?
The Socialist party of America first organized Women’s day on February 28, 1909, in New York. So from then on the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested that Women’s day is held annually. It was suggested by German Socialist Luise Zietz and was seconded by Clara Zetkin who was a fellow socialist and a later communist leader. The idea was also supported by Kate Duncker. But no date was actually specified at that conference. After that, delegates who were 100 women from a total of 17 countries decided on this idea to promote equal rights for women, including the topic which was most important back then- women’s suffrage.
It was the following year, on March 19 that International Women’s day was marked for the very first time by more than a million people in Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. It was after women obtained suffrage in Soviet Russia in the year of 1917, that March 8 came to be seen as a national holiday in there.
How Women’s Day currently is perceived?
Women’s day in some place is a public holiday whereas in other areas it is mostly ignored. In other areas, it is a day where protests take place against a whole day being allotted all to women. But in most places, it is a day which celebrates the struggles of women to gain visibility in history and celebrate womanhood which has been suppressed by the other half of the population.
How is it Celebrated?
In 2018, International Women’s Day was celebrated as ‘Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives’. As can be seen from this women’s day quotes, the idea of an international women’s day is to always reflect on the progress which has been made and also to shine the spotlight on women who have been transforming their places right from the grassroots level. As such, the theme for 2019 is- Think equal, build smart, innovate for a change. It tells one to focus on innovative ways which can be used to further advance the gender equality and empowerment of women.
Women’s day remains a powerful day and is a victory for half of the population who had to wrest control over their own lives from men and have to still continue to do so.