International Women’s Day (8 March) is a day globally recognised for celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s campaign #EachforEqual highlights the powerful difference every individual can make to achieve greater gender equality – because an equal world is an enabled world.
Rooted in the global labour movement which took place across America and Europe over 100 years ago, its origins can be traced back to February 1908 when around 15,000 female garment workers in New York went on strike and marched through the city demanding voting rights, better pay and shorter working hours. As a direct consequence of this, the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on 28 February 1909. Over the next few years, International Women’s Day would be marked in countries such as Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, leading to the historic day in Soviet Russia on 8 March 1917 when, against the backdrop of the First World War, women went on strike for ‘Bread and Peace.’ Four days later, the Czar abdicated and the Provisional Government granted women the right to vote. 8 March has been celebrated as International Women’s Day (IWD) or International Working Women’s Day ever since.
It wasn’t until 1975, however, that the United Nations first officially celebrated IWD. Following a petition in 1987, US congress declared the month of March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity.
Today, IWD is celebrated across the globe, opening up conversations about the socio-political and economical challenges women face and honouring the achievements of women throughout history and from all walks of life. Although equal opportunity and fair pay continue to be elusive topics almost fifty years later, 2020’s theme of collective individualism is a reminder that it’s up to us to drive changes to pave the way towards a gender-equal future.
Want to learn more about IWD? Check out their website here.