International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements – from the political to the social – while calling for gender equality.
It has been observed since the early 1900s and is now recognized each year. It is not affiliated with any one group but brings together governments, women’s organizations, corporations, and charities.
The day is marked around the world with arts performances, talks, rallies, networking events, conferences, and marches by women’s organizations, businesses, and charities together under the banner of International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day falls on March 8 every year – that means that it falls on Thursday this week.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress. A strong call to #PressforProgress, a strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.
How did this day start?
It’s difficult to say exactly when IWD (as it’s known) began. Its roots can be traced to 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding voting rights, better pay and shorter working hours. In 1910, a woman called Clara Zetkin – leader of the ‘women’s office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany – tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She suggested that every country should celebrate women on one day every year to push for their demands.
A conference of more than 100 women from 17 countries agreed to her suggestion and IWD was formed. In 1911, it was celebrated for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland on March 19.
In 1913, it was decided to transfer IWD to March 8, and it has been celebrated on that day ever since. The day was only recognized by the United Nations in 1975, but ever since it has created a theme each year for the celebration.
Why do we still celebrate it?
The original aim – to achieve full gender equality for women the world – has still not been realized. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, education, health, and violence towards women is still worse than that of men.
According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close until 2186. On IWD, women across the world come together to force the world to recognize these inequalities – while also celebrating the achievements of women who have overcome these barriers. According to a 2017 report by the World Economic Forum, it could still take another 100 years before the global equality gap between men and women disappears entirely.
Stay tuned to Ndolezone to read more on the Kamer women we are celebrating.