International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. The theme this year is "Inspiring Change."
The theme encourages advocacy for women's advancement everywhere in every way. It calls for challenging the status quo for women's equality and vigilance inspiring positive change.
In modern times, International Women's Day has been honored each year on March 8th. International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. It is a day set aside to recognize the achievements of women that began in that turbulent period - not the least of which is the struggle for women's suffrage in this country, which began in the late 19th century and culminated in 1920 with the ratification of the nineteenth amendment.
IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
From the International Women's Day website:
"The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men."
Each year on March 8th, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. Take a moment to peruse the IWD website to learn a little about the history of this holiday, and the good work still being done for women worldwide. And every day, try to do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe, and rewarding.