International Women’s Day (IWD) is being celebrated all over the world, today, Friday 8 March, we are all people of the world unitung, working towards the advancement of women’s rights and of course gender equality…
The big day really does carry a clear message in the theme of female empowerment, right across the world. The way it’s acknowledged and broadcast, the way it’s celebrated though is just a little different country to country, and how did it all start?
Where did International Women’s Day Originate?
The furthest back in time that we believe that a women’s day happened was when it was called “National Woman’s Day” and it was held on February 28, 1909, in US sate of New York, it was planned and organized by the Socialist Party of America, history records this to be the idea of one Theresa Malkiel a Russian-born American labor activist, an educator, and a suffragist in the women’s movement.
It was hoped that the U.S. Supreme Court would allow women the a constitutional right to vote, and women suffragists made many attempts to vote around the early 1870s. They filed lawsuits as they were refused this right.
Susan B. Anthony a leader in one of the first national suffrage organizations, who established in 1869 as two competing suffrage organizations were formed with a common goal. Susan actually managed to vote in 1872 but then was arrested and found guilty, it was a widely publicized trial, it also gave the movement fresh momentum.
After tears of apparent competition between different groups the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) emerged in 1890 from combined suffrage forces merging together, with Susan B. Anthony as the leader.
Moving forward to the modern day, according to the official International Women’s Day website, it was during the International Conference of Working Women in 1910, that Clara Zetkin of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, put forward an idea that a day be set aside every year, across the world, to celebrate women and reinforce their demands.
Celebration Of International Women’s Day Country By Country
At home here in the United States
Here in the US, the whole of March is Women’s History Month, this has been an ongoing celebration, every since back in February 1980, when President Jimmy Carter himself declared that the week of 8 March was to be a National Women’s History Week.
In a few short years there were thousands of schools across the country embracing the week as a way to achieving equality in the classroom too, this was something that was spearheaded by the National Women’s History Alliance, bravo on their part!
It was also supported by city councils and governors alike, they ran events and special programmes to further champion female empowerment, now this is some great history for sure!
The celebrations grew and grew, year on year, and by 1986, all 14 states had extended the celebrations to last for the whole month of March.
Each and every year there is an official statement of recognition given by the President, called a Presidential Proclamation, on IWD to honour the achievements of American Women, we feel very proud, don’t you?
Over in Italy, they call International Women’s Day ‘La Festa della Donna’, that has a lovely ring to it don’t you think?
Well firstly, it’s celebrated by the gift of beautiful and bright yellow Mimosa blossom flowers. On the day itself, there are bouquets of the lovely sunshine colored blooms are sold all over the streets of Italy.
The great idea here is that people pay respect and honour the women and their lives by giving these flowers, which, by the way, are viewed as a symbol of female strength and sensibility. How passionate and typical of Italy!
The Italians also choose to celebrate IWD by making a special cake designed to resemble small blooms of the mimosa flower. This is traditionally a sponge cake made with citrus liqueur lavished with cream and cubes of pastry to symbolize the shape of the flower.
Just not that long ago, on 24 January 2019, Berlin’s parliament took a vote, they voted for this International Women’s Day, known as ‘Frauentag’, literally in german meaning Woman’s day, to become a public holiday.
It will mean that workers in the German capital, the only state in the country to recognise the day as a public holiday, will get the day off on Friday!
Just last year in 2018, there were more than five million female workers who protested about International Women’s Day. It was a landmark 24-hour strike, their protest was against the gender pay gap, as well as domestic violence and sexual discrimination in the workplace. Suffice to say that it was a potent mix of emotive causes for all us women.
Many rallies that took place all around the country in over 200 locations, people that took part in the protests were encouraged by the organisers not to spend any money on the day, and also not participate, at all, in any domestic chores!
This is an event that will endure year on year.
In the United Kingdom, International Women’s Day is celebrated in a numerous different ways, with a real focus on spreading awareness of both social and political issues affecting all women.
Events that took place around the country were in honour of the IWD and included talks, exercise classes, and gigs. The drive behind many of these is to raise funds for specific charities, all dedicated to women’s rights.
In similar activities to raise awareness the business, Net-a-Porter, for example, teamed up with a whole host of luxury labels, including Isabel Marant and Victoria Beckham, to show support for Women for Women International. Bravo to all involves that got on board and showed their support, we hope each year we will see more.
In China, that same big day, 8 March, has been a national holiday back since the year 1949. Many of those companies offer to their female employees a holiday of half a day so that they can spend the afternoon celebrating International Women’s Day!
It’s a little like Valentine’s Day, IWD in China is seen as an opportunity to treat women they love with special gifts, what a lovely idea!
So it has been taken as a day for commercial opportunities alike, with many businesses and brands jumping on board, for the idea that many people want to spend money on the women in their lives. There have been launches of special IWD marketing campaigns and promotions with these exact thoughts in mind.
As it happens China also celebrates a day that is called Girl’s Day on 7 March, it is dedicated to championing the achievements of younger Chinese women in schools and universities, now we would also love to se this adopted in the US and worldwide too!
Sharing Is Caring – Spread the Word!
Maybe you can help us to raise awareness too, spread the word, tell everyone you know, let’s all help the cause for the better.