Every year on 8 March, the whole world celebrates the International Women’s
Day (IWD), the aim of the day is to celebrate and to focus on women’s historic struggle for their rights.
This worldwide event celebrates women’s achievements in all fields from the political to the social, while calling for gender equality.
The world still celebrates this day as women across world still suffer inequalities in many fields; such as the fact that men are paid on average 16% more than women across Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations, according to Bloomberg. This day is important to reflect on the status of women and voice their demands.
You may have heard about IWD in the media or from friends. But what is it for? Where did the idea of the day originate? And what is the theme for IWD celebrations this year? Daily News Egypt will let you know everything about this day.
How did the idea of the day originate?
It is difficult to know exactly when did the idea of the day originated, but its roots can be traced to 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York, demanding their voting rights and protesting work conditions, calling for better pay at work and shorter working hours.
A year later, in 28 February 1909, the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the US, in which the Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York.
Following this in 1910, the idea to then make the day international came from a woman called Clara Zetkin, leader of the women’s office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, suggesting in an international conference in Copenhagen, that every country should celebrate women on one day every year in order to give a chance for women to demand their rights.
Her proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by a conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, and IWD was formed but no fixed date was selected for the observance.
Following the Copenhagen initiative, in 1911, IWD was marked for the first time on 19 March in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.
In 1913, it was decided to change IWD to 8 March, and it has been celebrated on that day ever since.
The day was recognised by the United Nations (UN) in 1975, turning this date into a symbol of women’s struggle and rights, but a different theme is specified each year for the celebration.
What is this year’s theme?
Each year, IWD adopts a different theme and this year’s theme is Press for Progress.
The aim of the theme is to encourage people to continue the vocal fight for equality.
Women and activists around the world started blogging under the hashtag “press_for_progress.”
How does the world celebrate IWD?
The world celebrates it in different ways, some countries take it as an official holiday such as, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.
Other counties assigned it as a holiday for women only including, China and Nepal.
Meanwhile, other countries celebrate in a way similar to Mother’s Day, giving gifts to their wives, mothers, female friends, and sisters gifts.
Moreover, other countries including Arab countries celebrate this day by organising arts performances, talks, rallies, networking events, conferences, and marches.