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International Women’s Day 2024: History & Significance

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International Women’s Day

“Who run the world? Girls”. Beyoncé was certainly a visionary when she came out with this song back in 2011. Celebrating girls and women as she did, and as many others do through different mediums of art, be it music, films, poetry, etc. Every year, the UN-mandated International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March. This day not only celebrates women on a global and systemic level but also brings the centuries-long women’s issues and rights into the limelight; making sure that everyone is reminded of the simple fact: ‘there’s still work to be done’. On this important occasion of International Women’s Day 2024, this blog is here to talk about its rich history, significance, and importance, starting yet another conversation on women’s role in the world, by including the 2024 theme of International Women’s Day. 

Also Read: Women’s Equality Day

History of International Women’s Day

Let’s first take a glimpse back to the beginning before moving on. Having grown out of the labor movement in the United States, this day can see its seeds planted in the early 1900s when women in the number of 15,000 marched through the streets of New York City with a demand for better pay, short working hours, and voting rights. The Socialist Party soon came up with a National Women’s Day. 

The idea of making this day International Women’s Day came from Clara Zetkin, a woman who was a communist activist and an advocate for women’s rights. She proposed this in 1910 at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. A unanimous agreement was reached on the decision. 

Therefore, the day was first celebrated in 1911, in countries: Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Jumping to the future in 1975, the United Nations made things official, celebrating International Women’s Day on March 08 every day.

Key Years 

Some of the initial key years that contributed to the establishment of this day in tabulated below. 

1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott hold the USA’s first women’s rights convention. 
1910 In Europe, The Socialist International established a Women’s Day in support of global suffrage for women. 
1913 As a mechanism to protest World War I and a part of the peace movement, Russian women celebrated the day on the last Sunday of February. 
1915 More than a thousand women from over 12 countries gather in the Hague in The Netherlands.
1917 The right to vote for women in Russia come to fruition, after women protest for “Bread and Peace” on 8 March, according to the Gregorian calendar. 
United Nations: International Women's Day


Also Read: Single Working Women’s Day

Why do we Celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8? 

As mentioned above, the women chose to strike for “bread and peace” during wartime. The Czar was ultimately forced to provide women with the right to vote. According to the then-used calendar, which was the Julian calendar, the women started their strike on February 23. But after the revolution, Russia too adopted the Gregorian calendar which said the day fell on March 08 – the calendar which is now followed in a majority of countries and the day which is officially recognized as IWD.

United Nations: International Women's Day

International Women’s Day 2024 Theme 

International Women’s Day campaign theme for the year 2024 is “Inspire Inclusion”. As it suggests, the theme urges people of this planet to understand and prioritize women’s inclusion, thus leading to a better world. This highlights the impact of women’s inclusion in society and how creating a sense of involvement can lead to a better place for all. 

The 2023 theme of International Women’s Day was “Embrace Equity“. It was a call to the people in power all over the world, especially governments, the private sector, and activists, to use their resources to make the digital space a better and more safe place for women – is being made on this occasion of International Women’s Day. This is because online harassment/violence is as much valid as offline violence against women. The digital world should be made more inclusive and more equitable, focusing on the sake of women. 

United Nations: International Women's Day

Also Read: International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Importance of International Women’s Day 

  • This day is important because the levels of gender disparity in this world continue to affect the lives of women.
  • Moreover, the day helps celebrate the lives of ordinary women who have made an extraordinary contribution to women’s history and to their respective communities. 

Furthermore, International Women’s Day continues to be of importance because of the below-mentioned harsh realities of women. 

  • 1 in 3 women faces gender-based violence
  • 2.7 billion women are unable to access the same jobs as men because of legal restrictions. 
  • In politically disruptive areas, women are stripped of basic human rights such as the right to basic education. 
  • The UN has also reported the gender gaps in food insecurity, poverty and an increase in gender-based violence in war struck Ukraine

Given the aforementioned facts and more, the importance of International Women’s Day that contributes to the work required for women continues to stand tall in relevance.

How is International Women’s Day Celebrated in the World? 

The IWD is celebrated in different ways across the world, highlighting diverse cultures. Here are a few popular ways in which the day is celebrated:

  • In some countries such as Russia, the IWD is observed as a national holiday.
  • In China, women receive a half-day off from work. 
  • In the United States of America, March is considered Women’s History Month. A presential proclamation honors the achievements of women of America. 
  • Mimosa blossoms are offered on this day in Italy on International Women’s Day. 
United Nations: International Women's Day

Also Read: National Women’s Day: Celebrating the Legacy of Sarojini Naidu

In Focus: Overlooked Women in History

Know about women whose names you might have missed out on below. 

United Nations International Women's Day
United Nations International Women's Day
United Nations: International Women's Day
International Women’s Day QuizWomen’s Equality Day
National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness DayInternational Day of Rural Women 
International Day of Girl ChildInternational Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

FAQs

Q1. Why is International Women’s Day important?

Ans. International Women’s Day is important because the day calls for change while celebrating the acts of courage and contributions made by ordinary women. 

Q2. When is International Women’s Day? 

Ans. International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 of every year. 

Q3. What is the Colour for women’s day?

Ans. The colors of International Women’s Day are purple, white, and green. 

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