International Women's Day: History of IWD; how is it celebrated and what is the theme this year

Ankita Mehta
International Women's Day

The day to celebrate women's achievements in all fields and glorify the importance of woman and womanhood is here. On March 8, people across the world will mark International Women's Day (IWD).

What is International Women's Day? Here is a look at a brief history of the day

For more than 100 years now, the IWD has been celebrated globally on March 8. The day also calls for accelerating gender parity worldwide. The early observance of International Women's Day dates back to 1908 when around 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York City demanding better pay, shorter work hours and voting rights.

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The first National Woman's Day was celebrated on February 28, 1909, in the United States and the idea to celebrate an International Women's Day was tabled a year later by a woman named Clara Zetkin.

In 1911, the first International Women's Day was honoured in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19. On that day, millions of men and women participated in the rallies campaigning for women's rights.

International Women's Day

In 1913, after discussions, the International Women's Day was transferred to March 8 and since then it has been celebrated on that day. While the day was marked as IWD, it got recognition from the United Nations only in 1975. The UN also adopted an annual theme to celebrate the day. In 1996, the UN adopted the theme "Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future." Several recent themes include "Empower Rural Women, End Poverty & Hunger" and "A Promise is a Promise - Time for Action to End Violence Against Women".

The year 2011 marked the 100th year of the worldwide event. The centenary was celebrated with rallies, charities and several other events.

International Women's Day

What's this year's theme?

Like every year, this year also the IWD will be celebrated with a special theme. This year's theme is #BeBoldForChange that will help to forge a better working world.

How is International Women's Day celebrated across the world?

Several countries, including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia celebrate IWD with an official holiday.

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In several other countries, the day is celebrated with men honouring their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters with gifts.

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