International Women’s Day, or Women’s Day, is almost upon us. Why is Women’s Day celebrated? It’s a worldwide event celebrating the activists who have paved the way for women’s suffrage and those who still strive for it today.
Women’s Day is a time to not only commemorate the change made so far, but to also continue to fight for that change collectively.
When is Women’s Day 2018?
Women’s Day 2018 is taking place on Thursday, March 8 around the world.
Want more answers? First, here’s how it started
Before we go into more detail on the question of why is women’s day celebrated, here’s a brief history.
The first known Women’s Day celebration in the U.S. was observed on Feb. 28, 1909 by the Socialist Party of America. They dedicated their observance to the 15,000 women who marched through New York City a year earlier as part of the 1908 garment strike.
BBC reports that it was German activist Clara Zetkin who proposed the day be recognized internationally when she spoke at the 1910 International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland first celebrated Women’s Day overseas on March 19, 1911.
In 1975, the United Nations recognized March 8 as the official date to celebrate Women’s Day.
Want to participate in Women’s Day? Here’s how you can
Women’s Day events — panels, conferences, demonstrations — happen worldwide every year. You can find some of these events on the Women’s Day website.
WAGGGS, representing 10 million young women in 150 countries, has been the Women’s Day “Charity of Choice” for many years. The organization is focused on the contributions that women and girls in rural areas are making to their communities.
“No matter where they live our girls are part of a strong, united and growing global movement, making positive gains every day,” a WAGGGS representative said in a statement provided to Metro. “Rural girls represent enormous potential; when they miss out, everyone loses. When they succeed, we all win.”
For more you can do on this day — posting on social media with the hashtags #IWD2018 and #TimeIsNow, printing out fliers, etc. — you can go to the Women’s Day “How to Plan” page.
What is this year’s Women’s Day theme?
The campaign theme for Women’s Day 2018 is #PressForProgress. The 2017 campaign theme was #BeBoldForChange, and thousands partook in a “Day Without a Woman” strike.
The Women’s Day site notes that the fight for gender parity is far from over — that according to the World Economic Forun’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, reaching gender parity is over two centuries away (217 years to be exact).
“Women’s participation at the most senior levels of leadership and management swiftly need to increase and accelerate,” the report states, which is why #PressForProgress is the Women’s Day 2018 theme.
You can pledge to #PressforProgress on the Women’s Day website.
— Women’s Day (@womensday) March 2, 2018
Why is Women’s Day celebrated?
The answer is simple: to honor the progress made for gender parity and equality — and to acknowledge that there’s still a long way to go. Recognizing and participating in Women’s Day is important now more than ever.
“This year’s commemoration of International Women’s Day comes against a backdrop of unprecedented global mobilization for women’s rights, equality and justice,” a spokesperson for UN Women told Metro. “The time is now to stand in solidarity with all those fearless women and girls who have been central to this universal push to end discrimination and gender-based violence, and to call for urgent action to achieve lasting change.”
Though the achievements and power of women should be celebrated every day, March 8 marks a full 24 hours to do so with the rest of the globe. We’ll be right there with you.