International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

The world has made unprecedented advances, but no country has achieved gender equality.

Fifty years ago, we landed on the moon; in the last decade, we discovered new human ancestors and photographed a black hole for the first time.

In the meantime, legal restrictions have kept 2.7 billion women from accessing the same choice of jobs as men. Less than 25 percent of parliamentarians were women, as of 2019. One in three women experience gender-based violence, still.

Let’s make 2020 count for women and girls everywhere.

History

The earliest Women’s Day observance, called “National Woman’s Day,” was held on February 28, 1909, in New York City, organized by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of activist Theresa Malkiel. There have been claims that the day was commemorating a protest by women garment workers in New York on March 8, 1857, but researchers Kandel and Picq have described this as a myth created to “detach International Women’s Day from its Soviet history in order to give it a more international origin”.

The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day in the International Women’s Year, 1975. In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

International Women’s Day sparked violence in Tehran, Iran on March 4, 2007, when police beat hundreds of men and women who were planning a rally. (A previous rally for the occasion was held in Tehran in 2003.) Police arrested dozens of women and some were released after several days of solitary confinement and interrogation. Shadi Sadr, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh and several more community activists were released on March 19, 2007, ending a fifteen-day hunger strike.

In the twenty–first century, in the West, the day was increasingly sponsored by major corporations and used to promote feel–good messages, rather than radical social reforms. In 2009, the British marketing firm, Aurora Ventures, set up a “International Women’s Day” website with corporate sponsorship. The website began to promote hashtags as themes for the day, which became used internationally. The day was commemorated by business breakfasts and social media communications that were reminiscent of Mother’s Day greetings.

For more information: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

Activities

SpeakHer Virtual Summit 2021

February 24, 2021 – Virtual, United States

The Women Empowerment Series

February 25, 2021 – Virtual, United States

IWD 2021: Celebrating women’s achievements

March 3, 2021 – Virtual, United States

Celebrating Her IWD 2021 event

March 4, 2021 – Virtual, United States

Celebrate Girls Virtual Challenge with Goodwall x Walden University

March 4, 2021 – Virtual, United States

SheJumps: Get the Girls Out!

March 5, 2021 – Virtual, United States

11th Annual IWD Forum: Business Powering a New Tomorrow

March 5, 2021 – Virtual, United States

IWD 2021 free dance classes

March 5, 2021 – Virtual, United States

Accelerating Women in Industry: Holistic resilience

March 5, 2021 – Virtual, United States

The Intersection of COVID-19: Moving in a New Direction

March 5, 2021 – Virtual, United States

Future of work: Power of the female perspective

March 6, 2021 – Virtual, United States

IWD 2021 choreographer showcase

March 6, 2021 – Virtual, United States

IWD 2021 artistic director’s summit

March 7, 2021 – Virtual, United States

Harvard WECode Conference

March 7, 2021 – Virtual, United States

It’s time to Listen To Girls!

March 7, 2021 – Virtual, United States

T9 Mermaid IWD 2021 virtual run

March 7, 2021 – Virtual, United States

IWD@Home: Night of empowerment & inspiration

March 7, 2021 – Virtual, United States

IWD 2021 Detroit event

March 7, 2021 – Virtual, United States

8th annual IWD 2021 panel

March 8, 2021 – Virtual, United States

IWD 2021 Virtual Women’s Expo

March 8, 2021 – Virtual, United States

Amplifying Her Voice IWD 2021 summit

March 8, 2021 – Virtual, United States