International Women’s Day
Have you ever heard of International Women’s Day? If you haven’t, you’re not alone.
While it may not be a holiday in the United States, March 8th is widely celebrated around the world in places such as Europe, Uganda, and Africa. A global web of local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities, parades, and marches. It’s a day to celebrate the achievement that women have made and rejuvenates us for the fights still ahead.
International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900’s. Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. They began to stand up against the oppression they were experiencing and became more active in campaigning for change.
A woman named Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office of the Social Democratic Party in Germany, took notice and proposed that every year in every country, there should be a celebration of women in order to press for their demands. As a result, the first International Women’s Day events were held in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911 and were attended by over one million people.
One hundred years later, International Women’s Day is an official holiday in over 25 countries.
The new millennium has brought with it a shift in attitudes. With more women in leadership positions and greater equality in legislative rights, one could think that women have gained true equality. The fact of the matter is that “women are still not paid equally, they aren’t present in equal numbers in business or politics, and women’s education, health, and violence against women is worse than that of men”.
We do have female astronauts and heads of state, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has “moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives”.
While the world looks much different today, the need to create social change remains the same. So how can you honor the women who have paved the way for you, and guide the way for women who may come after you? Check out the official International Women’s Day web page to learn more about the holiday and participate in any events happening near you.
I challenge you to bring attention to this cause and hopefully soon, America will join the rest of the world in making International Women’s Day a national holiday.