International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year.
The focus of International Women’s Day ranges from a celebration of respect, appreciation, and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political, and social achievements.
#1. The International Woman’s Day theme for 2016 is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.
A UN Women’s celebratory event is being held in Beijing with musical performances, high-powered speakers and celebrities including President of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Arquette, Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio, global philanthropist Melinda Gates, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and actor-director from India Farhan Akhtar, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and luminaries from politics, the arts, activism and philanthropy.
#2. The earliest Women’s Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York; it was organized by the Socialist Party of America in remembrance of the 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union.
In the West, International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.
#3. In Taiwan, International Women’s Day is marked by the annual release of a government survey on women’s waist sizes, accompanied by warnings that weight gain can pose a hazard to women’s health.
#4. In countries like Portugal groups of women usually celebrate on the night of March 8 in “women-only” dinners and parties.
In other countries, the custom of giving women flowers still prevails. The yellow mimosa is the symbol of International Women’s day in Italy and Russia. In France, it is violets or lily-of-the-valley.
#5. The United States has yet to officially recognize International Women’s Day as a national holiday.
In February, 1994, H.J. Res. 316 was introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters, along with 79 cosponsors, in an attempt to officially recognize March 8 of that year as International Women’s Day. The bill was subsequently referred to, and remained in, the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. No vote of either house of Congress was achieved on this piece of legislation.
Thank you for reading these fascinating facts about International Women’s Day!
Here are a few ways to get involved supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment around the world:
- Take part in one of UN Women’s campaigns or professional networks.
- Raise awareness on social media.
- Donate or volunteer your time to a cause that helps women in your local community.
Your voice matters. Your actions make it real.
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