Today it’s International Women’s Day. It’s been around now for over a hundred years, and held on the same day every year since 1914 – 8 March. So:
Happy International Women’s Day to all we women out there,
and to all of us who have significant women in our lives 🙂 .
Today in celebration, and as a woman and a coach who empowers women, I thought I’d shine a light on this special day. Read on for six key facts about its background which you may not know about this important day, this year’s theme and how you can take tangible action in 2018 to support women.
The Background to International Women’s Day
It’s a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
The History – 6 Facts You May Not Be Aware Of
Here are some key background facts to the international Women’s Day I found on Wikipedia:
- The first observance of a “National Women’s Day” was held 29 February 1909 in New York, and was organised by the Socialist Party of America.
- The first International Women’s Conference was held in August 1910. It was planned as a one time event to precede the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, Denmark. During the meeting it was proposed, and agreed by delegates (100 women from 47 different countries) that it become an annual event. It was to be used as a strategy to promote equal rights including suffrage for women.
- The first International Women’s Day took place on 19 March 1911, and was marked for the first time by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.
- During the first year, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire alone, there were 300 demonstrations. And in Russia a strike by women textile workers on March 8 became the start of the Russian Revolution. In Vienna, women paraded and carried banners honouring the martyrs of the Paris Commune. Women demanded that they be given the right to vote and to hold public office. They also protested against sex discrimination in employment.
- There were many more protests in a variety of countries over the first few years including on March 8 1914 when the famous suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested on her way to address a rally in London. International Women’s Day has been on March 8 ever since.
- In 1975 it was adopted and first celebrated by the United Nations. Up until then it was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries. In 1977, they proclaimed March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.
International Women’s Day Themes
Each year the International Women’s Day has a theme. Here’s four key topics they’ve focused on:
- Violence against women
- Poverty and hunger
- Gender equity
The Theme for 2018: #PressForProgress
The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings revealed that gender parity is over 200 years away. That’s why the theme for 2018 is #PressForProgress – which is focused on encouraging people to press for progress on gender parity.
How You Can Take Tangible Action To Support Women
As part of the 2018 #PressForProgress theme, they are calling for people to support women by committing to take tangible action in at least one key way.
5 Actions You Can Take To Support Women in 2018
Here are five areas the International Women’s Day organisers have nominated as examples for action:
- Maintaining a gender parity mindset
- Challenge stereotypes and bias
- Forge positive visibility
- Influence the beliefs and actions of others
- Celebrate womens achievements
If you’d like to make a commitment to #PressForProgress, I encourage you to click below:
You can advance the empowerment of women by making a commitment to do so, and by taking at least one action step today.
Happy International Women’s Day!