In 1908, against a backdrop of terrible working conditions and exploitation, 15,000 women took to the streets in New York protesting for shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. The next year the Socialist Party of America announced a National Women’s Day to honor the strikers, and in 1910 it went global.
The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911, and more than a million people turned out to rallies in Europe.
For most of the 20th century International Women’s Day was acknowledged and celebrated by people at the grassroots level, a rallying point for social justice. It wasn’t until 1975 – that the United Nations adopted International Women’s Day on 8 March.
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International Women’s Day (8 March) is a day to join voices with people around the world and shout the message for equal rights: “Women’s rights are human rights!”
It’s a time to celebrate the achievements of women, whether social, political, economic or cultural.
International Women’s Day is a once-a-year chance to remind governments, businesses and everyone else watching that women are prepared to take action to achieve their human rights.
There are countless groups working for gender equality or women’s rights, organizations doing everything from providing access to healthcare, shelter from violence, or lobbying for change.
International Women’s Day is a time for everyone, regardless of gender or gender identity, to celebrate the progress that women have made towards equality and remember how much further there is to go. Male allyship, especially when they are prepared to use their privilege to support gender equality, is a welcome amplification of women’s voices. Feminism isn’t just about improving the lives of women; it’s about dismantling all damaging gender stereotypes and roles. Achieving gender equality should be as important for men as it is for women.
Historically, purple was a color that denoted justice and dignity, and now it is used to represent women. Green is a symbol of hope. Today, purple is the color of International Women’s Day, and combined with green represents the feminist movement.