How did it start?
It is hard to say exactly when International Women’s Day (IWD) began, but it is often traced back to 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding for better pay, voting rights and shorter working hours.
In the following year, the first National Women’s Day was run by the US on February 28th. It was in 1910, Clara Zetkin the leader of the ‘women’s office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany brought up the idea of an International Women’s Day. She suggested that every country should be celebrating women one day every year to push their demands.
A conference of more than 100 women from 17 different countries agreed and IWD was formed, it was celebrated on the 19th of March.
Later in 1913, it was decided to transfer IWD to March 8th.
The day was only recognised by the United Nations in 1975, but ever since it has created a theme each year for the celebration.
Why do we celebrate it?
Although we must recognise that we have made progress across the world in achieving gender equality, we also need to recognise there is still a large gap in many aspects.
We are still far from achieving that balance.
Here are five of the many reasons we need to continue to support International Women’s Day:
1. Gender Pay Gap
There is still a large gender pay gap in not only second and third world countries but also developed countries such as the US, UK and Australia.
Whilst there are somewhat ‘optimistic’ studies that have been conducted it has been said that the gap will not close for another 100 years at least.
Globally, there is a smaller percentage of females receiving education as compared to males.
Families elect their sons to receive education over their daughters which is causing a significant figure of neglected females in terms of their ambitions.
Although we have seen many public campaigns such as the #MeToo movement and #timesup whereby awareness has been raised and the conversation is happening about abuse against females, it is still not entirely eradicated.
Many countries and communities globally consider this violence ‘normal’ still.
4. Victim Blaming
Through many media stories and reports on social media to do with sexual assault we still see hundreds of comments blaming the women involved.
Maybe their skirt was too short or it was the way they were acting, they were asking for it right? Wrong! How is this still happening?!
Regardless of what many think, there is still a crazy stereotype that follows our gender around.
There is an idea that women should be girly, silly, should do yoga but not boxing, should be sexy nurses but not doctors, educated but not enough to be engineers.
How can I get involved?
As there are still so many reasons we need to continue celebrating International Women’s Day we have summarised a few ways we can all get involved!
Firstly, you can submit a ‘Pledge for Parity’ whereby you go to the IWD website by clicking HERE!
and following the prompts.
You can pledge to help women’s ambitions, calling for gender-balanced leadership and creating flexible cultures.
Another idea is to join in with an event, there is many events held all over the world with the official ones listed on the IWD website.
World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the charity of choice for International Women’s Day website and has been for many years.
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) represents 10 million girls and young women in 150 countries, making it the world's largest international organisation for girls.
As the global umbrella organisation for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, WAGGGS gives them the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, speak out on issues that are important to them and make changes in their communities and countries.
As an organisation, they stand for gender equality.
They want girls and young women to be the best they can be.
They help them challenge gender based violence, tackle body confidence issues and give them a global platform to help influence key decision makers.
To donate or find out more about WAGGGS, click HERE!