International Women’s Day ‒ our favorite day of the year.
International Women’s Day (you can find the official website here) ‒ or IWD ‒ has been celebrating the successes and challenging the injustices of women around the world for decades.
While these injustices demand so much more time than just one day, International Women’s Day is still an effective amplifier of the voices of women, and a powerful step in the right direction.
But do you know the history of International Women’s Day? Or when it’s held each year? What about how to celebrate International Women’s Day?
Join us in solidarity as we find out all there is to know about International Women’s Day.
In this article: 📝
- What is International Women’s Day?
- Why do we need International Women’s Day?
- When is International Women’s Day?
- When did International Women’s Day begin?
- How to celebrate International Women’s Day
- What is the theme for International Women’s Day 2022?
What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day of celebration, action, and awareness for women and the challenges or injustices we face every day.
It’s a day to acknowledge achievements, tackle prejudice, and proudly look back at how far we’ve come.
International Women’s Day is just that ‒ international ‒ so it’s celebrated globally on the same day, bringing together women from every corner of life.
What is the purpose of International Women’s Day?
The purpose of International Women’s Day is to shine a light on the issues and inequalities affecting women across the world, celebrate the achievements of women, and open discussions about how we can bring about positive change with equity and equality.
It’s all about uniting together to be the difference.
International Women’s Day is not about putting men down.
You don’t have to put anyone else down to raise yourself up.
International Women’s Day is about gender equality ‒ that’s equality for men, women, non-binary people, and everyone in-between.
In fact, some people prefer to call IWD ‘Civil Awareness Day, ‘Anti-Discrimination Day’, or ‘Anti-Sexism Day’, to open it up beyond people who use the term ‘women’ to identify themselves.
Why do we need International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day isn’t about individual women’s challenges and achievements.
We think Audre Lorde put it best: “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”.
Women (and girls) around the world have their equality challenged by societal norms, unjust laws, and missing human rights.
So why do we need International Women’s Day? Well, we’ll tell you (and yes, you’d better believe we have the receipts):
- Just 8.1% of all Fortune 500 companies have women as CEOs.
- Women’s health problems are dismissed by doctors or they are subjected to longer wait times than men. And it’s even worse for women of color.
- Female genital mutilation (FGM) is still practiced in some places in the world, despite it having no health benefits and causing health and sexual problems later in life.
- The gender pay gap is real ‒ women earn an average of 32% less than men for the same work.
- Around the world, just 26 women are serving as world leaders.
- 90 million women of reproductive age around the world are not allowed to have an abortion to save their life.
- 1 in 3 women globally have experienced some form of sexual assault.
- 45% of Gen Z and Millennial women have experienced online abuse.
- Men with disabilities are twice as likely to be employed as women with disabilities.
- The traditional car seat belt was designed for the male body, meaning that those with typically feminine bodies are 47% more likely to have severe injuries in car crashes.
- At the current rate of progress, it’ll take about 135 years to close the Gender Pay Gap.
- Just 10 countries in the world offer fully equal rights for women in the workplace ‒ and no, the US and the UK didn’t make the cut.
When is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day takes place annually on March 8th.
In 2023, International Women’s Day will be on Wednesday, March 8th.
IWD 2024 will be celebrated on Friday, March 8th.
Why do we celebrate women’s Day on March 8?
Why Match 8th? Well, back in the 1900s, the first International Women’s Day was actually celebrated on February 23rd, but it was changed a few years later to March 8th to fit in with the Russian Gregorian calendar at the time.
When did International Women’s Day begin?
International Women’s Day has been held since February 1908, in New York City, when early suffragettes marched for better pay, shorter working hours, and the right to vote.
In 1911, International Women’s Day became truly international, celebrated in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, and Austria, as well as the US.
From 1913, the date of IWD was changed to March 8th, and has been held every year since.
From 1975, the United Nations helped International Women’s Day spread even further around the world to make it the momentous event it is today.
How to celebrate International Women’s Day
Now you know a little more about IWD and why we need it, how can you celebrate it yourself?
Here are a few things you can do for a happy Women’s Day 2023:
- Dress in purple, green, and white ‒ the colors of International Women’s Day. According to the official IWD website, “Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity, albeit a controversial concept.”.
- Go to a local Women’s Day 2023 march in your area. No march near you? Make it happen yourself.
- Get together with friends and family to discuss women’s rights, equality, or even books and movies about gender equality.
- Share your story about gender inequality, your achievements, women who inspire you, or what you’re doing to help eradicate gender inequality on social media.
- Fundraise or donate to a female-focused charity.
- Support female-owned brands. If you can’t buy from them, show your support online.
- Send compliments or kind words to your female friends and family.
- Have a feminist movie night. Our suggestions: Little Women, Promising Young Woman, On the Basis of Sex, Legally Blonde (1 and 2!), Brave, The Color Purple, and Captain Marvel.
- Read a feminist book, like How to Be a Woman, White Fragility, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies), Everyday Sexism, More Than Enough, or anything by Maya Angelou.
- Arrange an early walk-out at work ‒ speak to your management before you do this!
- Curate and listen to an all-female Spotify playlist.
- Dress as your favorite female icon.
- Research lesser-known female icons and share their stories.
- Share how you #BreaktheBias on social media.
But don’t feel as though you have to wait for IWD to do any of these suggestions ‒ the fight for women’s rights around the world is needed throughout the year!
Another important thing you can do is to involve people who don’t identify as women in whatever you do for International Women’s Day.
After all, we’re all in this together.
What is the theme for International Women’s Day 2022?
Each year, the theme of International Women’s Day changes, to put a focus on certain issues and bring to the foreground more timely issues.
For International Women’s Day 2022, the theme is #BreaktheBias.
‘Break the bias’ refers to the harmful stereotypes women battle each day that affect their careers, health, wellbeing, lifestyles, relationships, education, and so much more.
For IWD 2022, you can help break the bias by posing with your arms in a cross (🙅♀️) and sharing how you’re calling out stereotypes and discrimination.
The United Nations theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, highlighting the ways the climate crisis can impact women and girls around the world, and the need to take action.
What is the theme for International women’s Day in 2021?
The theme for International Women’s Day in 2021 was “Choose to Challenge”, encouraging people to share how they’re challenging biases and stereotypes about women.
The United Nations also set a more specific theme for IWD 2021: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, with a focus on how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted women so far.
Previous International Women’s Day themes
Interested in the United Nations’ IWD themes and focuses of years before 2021? Here they all are:
- 1996: “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future”
- 1997: “Women and the Peace Table”
- 1998: “Women and Human Rights”
- 1999: “World Free of Violence Against Women”
- 2000: “Women Uniting for Peace”
- 2001: “Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts”
- 2002: “Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities”
- 2003: “Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals”
- 2004: “Women and HIV/AIDS”
- 2005: “Gender Equality Beyond 2005; Building a More Secure Future”
- 2006: “Women in Decision-making”
- 2007: “Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women and Girls”
- 2008: “Investing in Women and Girls”
- 2009: “Women and Men United to End Violence Against Women and Girls”
- 2010: “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”
- 2011: “Equal Access to Education, Training, and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women”
- 2012: “Empower Rural Women, End Poverty, and Hunger”
- 2013: “A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women”
- 2014: “Equality for Women is Progress for All”
- 2015: “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!”
- 2016: “Planet 50–50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”
- 2017: “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”
- 2018: “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”
- 2019: “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”
- 2020: “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”
However you choose to celebrate IWD, we wish you a Happy International Women’s Day this year, from the team at Peanut.
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