10 Interesting Facts About International Women’s Day

Women have played a vital role in the fabric of human society since the dawn of time. But that fact alone hasn’t stopped them from facing struggles with equality around the world. While there has been significant progress in many countries over the years, there is still plenty to do to achieve true equality. It’s for these reasons and more that International Women’s Day was born, which is celebrated annually on March 8th. It is a day meant to recognize all that women have done and continue to do for society, and a chance for people to brush up on their knowledge or awareness of women’s rights and gender equality.

Whether you’re a feminist who plans on celebrating International Women’s Day or you just want to learn more about its origins, here are 10 interesting facts about this special day.

International Women’s Day Has Been Celebrated for More Than 100 Years

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You’d probably be surprised to learn just how long International Women’s Day has been celebrated and observed. It’s a holiday that has been around for more than 100 years, expanding from country to country as the industrialized world grew and became even more dependent on the contribution of women.

It began on March 19, 1911, when just 17 countries joined together and picked a day to promote women’s suffrage and equal rights. Some of the original countries to celebrate the day were Germany, Denmark, Austria-Hungary, and Switzerland. The initial celebration saw huge rallies of more than one million people – both women and men. From there the movement grew. The date of the celebration then shifted to March 8.

The United Nations Didn’t Recognize the Day Until 1977

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While many countries around the world had already embraced International Women’s Day, it wasn’t until 1977 that the United Nations officially recognized it. The UN passed a resolution that recognized the day and then invited “all on the planet” to take part.

Just a couple of years prior, in 1975, the UN had deemed it International Women’s Year – so there was a clear shift in the spotlight with a desire to shine the light on issues affecting women. With that being such a success, it was only natural that the UN went on to officially recognize the day itself. Today the UN is actively involved in celebrations around the world, working to make it bigger each year.

There Is Typically a Theme Attached to the Day

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To ensure International Women’s Day promotes reflection and change, there is usually a theme attached to each year. This year’s theme is “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”, with events taking place globally to focus on and celebrate this theme. As for who picks the theme, that task is left to the UN. They work to choose a theme that represents issues and challenges facing women during that particular time.

The Day Was Born from Two Main Historical Events

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International Women’s Day is only a fairly new day of importance, but the history of Women’s Day across the world is long and convoluted. Almost every country had a different day and reason to celebrate the women population. That is until the second International Conference of Working Women in 1910 – there it was decided that European countries would unanimously agree on one recognized Women’s Day.

The date of the first official International Women’s Day was March 19th, but this was changed to March 8th to line up with Russian women who celebrated their Women’s Day on February 23rd on the Gregorian calendar, as Russian women were very active in protesting for peace during WWI.

The Date Itself Also Holds Historical Meaning and Significance

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Did you know that even the date chosen for International Women’s Day has meaning? It has ties to the women’s movement that took place during the Russian Revolution in 1917. Right before the fall of the Czar in 1917, women who rebelled and defied orders from the Bolshevik party took to the streets in Russia. Their demands were for bread and for their husbands to come home from the war they were fighting in.

There Is Also a Day Recognizing the “Girl Child”

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The UN didn’t just stop at recognizing International Women’s Day. In 2011 the Government of Canada proposed Oct. 11 as International Day of the Girl Child – and the UN passed the resolution. This celebration is meant to promote the rights of girls and put an end to gender inequality around the world.

In Some Countries It Is a Holiday

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Sure International Women’s Day is celebrated in countries around the world, but only a handful have taken it a step further and made it a holiday. Some of the countries that have taken this step include Albania, Uzbekistan, Macedonia, Cuba, Laos, Germany, Georgia, and Serbia.

Some Countries Combine International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day

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Here in North America International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day are nowhere near each other on the calendar, but that’s not the case in every country. Some countries have combined the two celebrations and made it a single day. These countries include Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Albania. The idea is that women and mothers are appreciated and celebrated on that day.

Giving Flowers to Commemorate the Day Is Widely Practiced

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Wondering how to celebrate or commemorate the day for the special woman or women in your life? It’s customary in many countries around the world to give flowers. Some countries also lean towards specific types of flowers – such as the yellow mimosa. This flower was chosen because it represents strength, resiliency, and sensitivity – which sum up women beautifully.

As for where this tradition began, it was in Italy during the early 20th century. During the women’s rights movement, the mimosa was chosen as a symbol.

A Few Colors Can Be Worn on the Day

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If you wish to show your support through your wardrobe, there are a few colors that have been picked as symbolic of the women’s rights and equality movements. Wearing green, white, or purple has deep roots in gender equality, women’s rights, the suffragette movement, and unity.
What’s great is that these are universal colors that can be worn by anyone, which means showing support is easy.

Make This the Year You Get Involved

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If these interesting facts about International Women’s Day have sparked your interest, then let it be the springboard you need to become more active in the global celebration. Make it a point to recognize the strong women in your life, take part in events, and learn what you can do to promote equal rights.

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