As International Women’s Day is approaching, we decided not to focus on giving you tips on how to prepare the best dinner for your BFFs or where to celebrate it. Instead, we decided to go back in time and see how far we’ve come and what brings us to where we’re now.
Celebrated annually on March 8, International Women's Day is a day dedicated to acknowledging women's contributions throughout history and around the world. A day for women from all backgrounds and cultures to come together to fight for gender parity and women's rights.
Before we start celebrating all the prominent female figures in today’s world, we decided to take a look back at the amazing history behind it — including why we’re celebrating it today, why it is happening on March 8th and what was the history behind it.
Why March 8th?
Women’s Day has a history that’s meant to educate and remind us where we started. It all began in 1909 with more than 15,000 women marching through Washington, demanding better pay, voting rights and shorter working hours. Interestingly, that event didn’t happen on March 8th, but rather around February 28th, when the last Sunday of February was declared the National Women’s Day.
But the celebration of Women’s Day on March 8th began in no other place than- Russia!
Russian women started a “bread and peace" strike on the last Sunday of February, in response to the deaths of more than 2 million Russian soldiers in World War 1. The strike continued for 4 days until the Czar had to give up his throne and women were given the right to vote. The date on which it ended was Sunday, 23 February on the Julian calendar which was used in Russia at the time. That same date in the Gregorian calendar we use now was March 8th!
Why are we celebrating it in 2020?
In 1975, the United Nations recognized Women’s Day and ever since 1976, it’s been given a common theme describing that year’s focus. This year’s theme #EachforEqual is meant to be a shared goal throughout 2020. According to IWD "We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations, and celebrate women's achievements"."Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender-equal world. Let's all be #EachforEqual."
The theme of the IWD 2020 campaign is based on the notion of "collective individualism," which refers to the concept that each individual is part of a whole, and that the behavior, attitudes, and mentalities of a person can all have an effect on broader society.
Today, we celebrate it solely because the original goal – to achieve the world's complete gender equality – has not yet been accomplished. A gender pay gap is still present around the globe and women are still not equally represented in economics and politics. According to a 2017 World Economic Forum report, it could still take another 100 years before the equality gap between men and women on a global scale disappears completely. Until then, we have to fight not only for ourselves but for all women on the planet who may not have the same privilege we have.
For the past year, women’s rights dominated the news, with more and more brave women stepping out and reporting the sexual misconduct they endured. From Harvey Weinstein, now a convicted rapist, Donald Trump, and a supreme court judge, Brett Kavanaugh, women finally had the power and courage to stand up for themselves and protect other women still under the influence of men in a position of power.
“Change isn’t just about big headline moments, legal victories and international agreements: the way we talk, think, and act every day can create a ripple effect that benefits everyone.”
Let’s make 2020 count for women and girls everywhere.