International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements. It is observed on March 8 each year. Women’s Day has been observed for nearly a century, with the first celebration taking place in 1911.
The day serves as a rallying point for achieving gender parity across the world. Globally, there is a lot of activity on this day as people join together to celebrate women’s accomplishments or to march for women’s rights.
Colours of International Women’s Day:
Purple, green and white are the colours that represent International Women’s Day. Purple is associated with justice and dignity. Green represents hope while white stands for purity. The colours were assigned by the United Kingdom in 1908 by the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).
History of International Women’s Day:
International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s, during a period of considerable turmoil in the industrialised world marked by rapid population expansion and the rise of radical ideologies.
Women’s persecution and inequality prompted them to become more vocal and involved in the movement for reform in 1908. Around the same time, 15,000 women marched through New York City, demanding shorter work hours, higher pay and the right to vote.
A year later, on February 28, 1909, the first National Woman’s Day was celebrated across the United States, according to a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. Until 1913, women continued to commemorate national Woman’s Day on the last Sunday of February.
In 1910, Copenhagen hosted the second International Conference of Working Women. Clara Zetkin, German Marxist theorist and activist, proposed the concept of International Women’s Day. She recommended that every year on Women’s Day a celebration be held in every country to honour women’s fight for their demands.
Over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s organisations and the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, unanimously approved Zetkin’s proposal. This is how International Women’s Day came to existence.
International Women’s Day was first observed in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911, following a consensus reached in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Later, it was decided that March 8 would be universally recognised as the International Women’s Day. In 1975, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day for the first time.
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