Few Things You Need to Know About International Women's Day

Society | March 8, 2018, Thursday // 10:53| Views: | Comments: 0
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On Thursday, March 8th, people from around the globe will celebrate International Women's Day (IWD), an annual event that honors the various social, economic, political, and cultural achievements that females have accomplished. From Australia to America, women will be participating in marches, rallies, conferences, networking events, and online discussions to reflect on the advances made over time, as well as steps that can be taken to continue to promote gender equality .

Here, we've highlighted the background of the day, this year's message, how millions of women around the world will be encouraging greater diversity, and how you can take action on IWD.

The History of International Women's Day

The first fight for women's rights dates back to 1908, when 15,000 women took to the streets in New York City to protest for better pay, short working hours, and the right to vote. In the following year, the Socialist Party of America declared the last Sunday in February as the first National Women's Day in honor of the strike that took place the previous year.

Then, in 1910, a woman named Clara Zetkin proposed an annual Women's Day event to be held on the same day in other countries around the world. It was a unanimous decision among the more than 100 women from 17 countries (which included the first three women elected to the Finnish Parliament). The first International Women's Day was observed one year later by over one million women and men who attended rallies in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. And their cause has expanded - these pioneers were also protesting for women's right to vocational training and end job discrimination.

Between 1913 and 1914, the date was changed from March 19 to March 8. The United Nations (UN) celebrated this annual event for the first time in 1975.

This Year's Theme

On the heels of the popular #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the 2018 campaign is being summed up in a hashtag: #PressForProgress. "I feel like pressing for progress has nothing to do with trying to prove anything," says Amy Jo Martin, the New York Times bestselling author of Renegades. female speakers in an online conversation hosted by Ernst & Young on IWD. "I think the progress is really about committing yourself and making sure you're progressing in your own life."

Martin, who has been named the third most powerful woman on Twitter by Forbes, believes there has been a shift in energy from prior celebrations where women are finally ready to put their ideas - whether to enhance their personal or professional lives-into motion.

"It's not just a discussion, it's about action," she tells WomansDay.com. On Thursday, the businesswoman will be sharing her personal journey along with the tangible lessons she has learned from interviewing successful and influential leaders such as Arianna Huffington, Mark Cuban, and Tony Robbins. "I distilled down and asked them how they navigate from dreaming to doing, from ideas to action."

And yes, this is a day for men, as well. "In my career, I worked mainly in male dominated industries-technology, professional sports, and entertainment-and most mentors are men-and I'm very grateful," adds Martin. "It's definitely a collective effort that needs to happen."

How Women Around the World Are Recognizing the Day

While the empowering events will take place worldwide, including a story-telling and art exhibition charity in London, a night of music, poetry, and inspirational speeches at a theater in Windhoek, Namibia, and a six-day festival in the UK- Some countries also have special traditions.

For example, in Ukraine, Armenia, Moldova and Russia, IWD is considered a national holiday where government offices, schools and stores are closed. Women are gifted with flowers in Ukraine while men in Russia give females postcards that are designed with spring flowers as well as images of a mother and child. And similar to Valentine's Day in the United States, chocolate is a popular gift for women on IWD in Italy and Albania.

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