Celebrating International Women’s Day

Holiday: International Women's Day, March 8th
Where? Around the world


Meaning and History

International Women's Day is a day of celebration for the cultural, social, economic, and political achievements of women around the world. For more than a century, International Women’s Day has been an important day for women. It serves as a call to action to end discrimination based on gender. The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911 when more than a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland campaigned for women’s equality. The first International Women’s Day was inspired by the Socialist Party of America’s strikes organized in 1909 to fight for women’s rights.


Today, International Women’s Day is collectively celebrated by groups around the world. International Women’s Day is not an event organized by one group, but rather, it is recognized by many different organizations and countries in different ways. For example, in Bulgaria and Romania, International Women’s Day is celebrated as an equivalent to Mother’s Day, where children give small gifts to mothers. While in other countries, such as Italy and Belarus, flowers are given to women to commemorate the holiday. Regardless of different cultural customs, International Women’s Day is a day of unity, reflection, and advocacy for women’s rights.


How to Celebrate International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world in different ways. Historically, the colors purple and green have been used to symbolize women’s equality. The Women’s Social and Political Union in the UK selected the colors with purple signifying justice and green symbolizing hope. Each year, a theme is selected for International Women’s Day to provide a unified direction for the movement. Past themes addressed topics such as violence against women, women’s education, HIV/AIDS, and ending poverty and hunger.