For decades, the International Women’s Day has been celebrated as an opportunity for men to value the women in their lives, as well as giving females the chance to mingle and celebrate their gender. But, what is this holiday really about?

Today, we help you appreciate this event by telling you part of the history and facts of this worldwide celebration.

 

International Women’s Day: what is it? Why is it celebrated?

The International Women’s Day is a holiday which commemorates the hard work of numerous activists whom fought for gender equality and the human rights of women. The date was set in 1975 by the United Nations, but Women’s Day was celebrated before that.

The first National Woman’s Day was held on February 28th of 1909 in the United States, as a way of commemorating women’s strikes for better work conditions. Socialist parties from other countries used this as an inspiration to hold meetings in support of women’s rights, making a particular emphasis on achieving the right to work, job equality and the right to vote.

During the 20th century, many celebrations of Women’s Day were held during different dates, sometimes including protests and assembles. It became increasingly popular and gained international support, but it wasn’t until 1945, when the United Nations signed an agreement to support equality between men and women.

   

 

Why is the International Women’s Day celebrated on March 8th? How is it celebrated?

The United Nations designated 1975 as the International Women’s Year, and March 8th as the set date for celebrating the International Women’s Day. It’s popularly believed that a strike demanding better work conditions occurred on March 8th of 1908, but it wasn’t so, and most of the events held throughout the 20th century didn’t occur on March 8th.

The only notable exception is the Bread and Peace protest, held by Russian women during March 8th of 1917. During this rally, women expressed their opposition to the death of millions of Russian soldiers at the war, and days later the Czar Nicholas was forced to abdicate. It’s possible that the date inspired the women’s movement to set March 8th as the official holiday for the International Women’s Day.

Since then, it has been celebrated in different ways and accepted in many countries as an official holiday. In some countries, men are encouraged to give their mothers, wives, daughters and friends a small gift; while in others the day is commemorated through demonstrations and local events.

Amidst the 90’s, it also became common for the United Nations to designate a theme for the International Women’s Day of each year, as a way of producing awareness regarding the achievements or conflicts which women continue to face.

For 2014, the theme will be Equality for women is progress for all, and an event at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York will be held during March 7th to commemorate the holiday.

 

 

So now you know all about the International Women’s Day. We have come very far, but remember: there’s still a long road ahead!

 

Happy Women’s Day!

 

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Sources:
International Women’s Day. About international women’s day (March 8th). http://www.internationalwomensday.com/about.asp
Women Watch. History of International Women’s Day. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/feature/iwd/history.html
UN Women. International Women’s Day 2014. http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/international-womens-day