What Does International Women’s Day Mean?

Izabella Timar-FeckoEvents1 Comment

March 8th is International Women's Day so our office administrator Izabella decided to look into what it is and what it means.

The histroy behind IWD

In New York City in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City to demand shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. One result from this was that followed was that the Socialist Party of America declared the primary National Women's Day. The thought to then make this day a global one was suggested in 1910 at the world ‘International Conference of Working Women’ in Copenhagen by a woman named Clara Zetkin.

This was then first celebrated in 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. The centenary was celebrated in 2011, so this year we are celebrating the 110th International Women's Day.

What are the colours of International Woman’s Day?
Purple, green and white are the colours of International Women's Day.

"Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity. The colours originated from the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU).

Is there an International Man’s Day?

There is indeed, on the 19th of November.
It has been marked since the 1990s and this day is celebrated in over 80 countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom. The day celebrates "the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities" highlighting positive male role models and helping to highlight and raise awareness of men's well-being. The theme for 2020 was “ Better health for men and boys”. www.internationalmensday.com

How is IWD celebrated?

Even though International Woman’s Day is celebrated worldwide, each country has their own way. In some countries and places, International Women’s Day is a day of protest; in others, it is a day that celebrates what it means to be a woman.

In Russia, they have declared it as a public holiday. In China, all female employees get a half a day off to hopefully spend relaxing. In Italy yellow mimosas are given to women. The Secretary of state and the First Lady of the United States of America are hosting official events, honouring some outstanding women who have shown courage in many fields.

Last year in Mexico thousands of women and girls joined a historic strike to protest at the country’s startling rates of gender-based violence – and their government’s failure to respond to the crisis where it is said that a minimum of ten women are murdered daily.

For 2021, it will look quite different due to the coronavirus which, as in all aspects of life a right now, will lead to more virtual events taking place all over the world.

To see what is happening in your area as well as globally why not search on the International Woman’s Day Event Website.

This year’s theme

The theme for the 2021 International Women's Day campaign is #ChooseToChallenge
“We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. " – the campaign says.
People are being asked to raise their hand high to show they are in and committed to choose to challenge and call out inequality and share this picture on Social Media to encourage commitment to an inclusive world.

The pandemic has brought its own unique challenges for women as they represent for the most part of the highest proportion healthcare workers, caregivers, innovators, and community organisers. In other areas they had to face job losses or working reduced hours. The increase of domestic abuse, which also tends to extend in economic hardship also increased in numbers. I would also highlight the pressures of home schooling, when women often had no other choice, but to be furloughed, work reduced hours and potentially miss out on promotions and widening the lockdown gender gap. Although the day was started more than a century ago, women around the world battle the social, economic, and political fallout from Covid-19, therefore the need for this celebration is more important than ever.

While the lockdown is on the horizon, the long-term effect of this pandemic is still unknown. There is a ray of sunshine in the dark horizon, by opening all schools in England on the 8th of March, is also coincides with International Woman’s Day.

Happy International Woman’s Day indeed.

About the Author

A picture of Izabella, the author of this blog

Izabella Timar-Fecko

Office Administrator

Izabella provides administrative support for our busy office, Directors and Finance Manager. She answers the phones and deals with enquiries. She also helps resolve basic IT support enquiries and logs tickets as required. More about Izabella.

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