International Women's Day is observed annually on March 8th to celebrate the socio-economic, cultural, and political accolades of courageous women.
International Women’s Day - March 8, 2023
“I am a woman, I am smart, I have opinions, I have feelings, I care, I make a difference, I matter, I am a woman and I am proud of who I am.”
Every year, on March 8, we celebrate the undaunting power and sheer resilience of women who have navigated through turbulent times and carved themselves a space. It recognizes women’s worldwide social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. International Women’s Day - March 8, 2023, is a reminder of all the brave and courageous women who have contributed to society and taken a step toward gender equality.
As we enter another year and celebrate yet another International Women’s Day, we can acknowledge how far women have come through the years. From the first celebration in 1911, where women were in the backdrop, to 2023, where they hold prominent positions in government, business, academia, and other spheres of life, they have come a long way. Women have broken barriers, shattered stereotypes, and made irreversible changes.
The day also seeks to honor all the women in the past who have paved the way for the world that exists today. Their sacrifices and stubbornness have led to the creation of the present, where most women are no longer bound behind doors and expected to bow down to patriarchal norms. They have inspired innumerable women to continue breaking down hindrances and achieving their goals.
However, it highlights not just the successes but the barriers and challenges that still stand in the way of a just society where women feel empowered and valued. Women still face discrimination, gender-based violence, and unequal treatment in the workplace. The fight continues persistently, and women are leaving a mark on the world through this journey.
When is International Women’s Day 2023?
Every year, March 8 is marked as International Women’s Day to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. Celebrations of the day vary from country to country, but they often include rallies, marches, and cultural events. Some organizations also hold conferences and seminars to discuss gender equality and women's rights. The day is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the ongoing struggle for gender equality and promote women's empowerment.
History of International Women’s Day
The origins of International Women’s Day can be traced back to the early 20th century in Europe and the United States. Women in these countries started advocating for equal rights and opportunities, suffrage, and working conditions, through socialist and labor movements.
In 1908, a rally of 15,000 women set out on the streets of New York City, demanding shorter hours, better pay, and voting rights. This event was organised by the Socialist Party of America to mark one year anniversary of the garment workers’ strike in New York in 1907.
The very first National Woman’s Day was celebrated in the United States on 1909 February 28. Following this, in 1910, the International Socialist Women’s Conference in Copenhagen suggested the creation of an annual International Women’s Day. This proposal saw a green light, and March 8 was to be declared International Women’s Day.
She suggested that Women's Day should be celebrated yearly to promote women's rights and suffrage worldwide. This proposal saw a green light, and March 19, 1911, was celebrated as the first International Women's Day in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. The following year, in 1912, International Women's Day was celebrated on March 8th for the first time, and it has been observed on this date ever since.
Initially, the day was focused on garnering voting rights, i.e., suffrage. It was celebrated in different countries through demonstrations, rallies, and speeches.
The day’s significance was put into focus during World War 1. It became a platform for women’s peace activism, where women from different countries rallied against the war and called for peace.
In 1917, Russian women rallied for “Bread and Peace” against the ongoing food shortage and constant wars. This strike is considered the spark behind the Russian Revolution. After the end of the war and the establishment of the USSR, International Women’s Day was declared an official holiday in Russia and all its socialist counterparts.
After the battle, the world continued to celebrate women’s day. In 1945, the Charter of the United Nations was the first international agreement to establish gender equality as a fundamental human right. And in 1975, International Women’s Day was finally recognized by the United Nations.
The focus shifted to advocating for equal rights, including better working conditions, access to education, and the right to vote. Every year, the IWD reflects a global issue that persists worldwide, hampering women’s growth.
Significance of Women’s Day
Women’s day is very significant in the realm of giving women equal opportunity and putting them on the same pedestal as men. It allows one to recognize and celebrate the women of past, present, and future - their undauntable spirits and unshakable resilience.
The day reflects on how far women have come regarding opportunities and rights and acknowledges the sectors we still lack. It does not sidetrack women’s struggles, nor does it hide the sheer steps some had to go through just so the women of the future were safe and secure.
One of the most significant areas of IWD is the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Gender equality does not denote fairness and justice but promotes sustainable development and economic growth for all women. When women are suitably empowered, they can support their families, community, and the entire nation in a positive manner. This includes their contribution to decision-making processes, access to different sectors, and achieving fair wages.
The day also serves as a reality check of the problems that still haunt women and the need for instant advocacy and action. Despite all the progress made through the decades, challenges like gender-based violence, discrimination in the workplace, and unequal access to education and healthcare are rampant. Women’s day provides an opportunity to bring these issues to a global light and demand actions to address them.
As we celebrate Women’s Day, let us not forget women’s countless contributions throughout history and worldwide. Let us put our best foot forward into creating a more equal and opportunistic society for them and strive towards gender equality. We should empower women to achieve their full potential and make a positive and productive impact on society.
The true significance of Women’s Day is in honoring women’s strength, resilience, and accomplishments, both past and present.