Tomorrow, Monday 8 March is International Women’s Day (IWD), an annual celebration of the progress of women in society, politics and the economy; it’s also an occasion to campaign for justice and equality.
The theme for this year’s IWD is #ChooseToChallenge, which creates the awareness that a challenged world is an alert world and each person is responsible for their own thoughts and actions. The colours of IWD are purple, green and white.
According to the IWD campaign, “We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.”
During an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910, a German delegate, Clara Zetkin, proposed celebrating an International Women’s Day. The suggestion was enthusiastically endorsed by all 100 women from 17 countries present at the conference.
The following year IWD was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March and was taken up by the labour movement in the years following the First World War. The day was officially recognised by the United Nations in 1975, which chose as its first theme (in 1996) ‘Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future’.
IWD is an official holiday in several countries, including China and Russia; other countries give women a half-day off work on 8 March.
More details can be found on IWD’s website