March 09, 2021 3 min read

What Is International Women’s Day? Why We Celebrate, How Did It Start, and More Questions Answered


Happy International Women’s Day! The holiday, first celebrated in 1911, is a day that celebrates women all over the world, recognizing their accomplishments and achievements. This year, we are celebrating the women who inspire us while demanding better for women all over the globe. Read on to learn more about International Women’s Day! 


What is this year’s theme for International Women’s Day?

2021’s theme is Choose to Challenge, which is a call to challenge gender inequity and bias and fight for gender parity in all aspects of society: sports, healthcare, government, workplaces and more. This year, choose to challenge sexism, misogyny and bias by celebrating the women that you admire and by supporting them! 

 

Who Started International Women’s Day? 

On February 28, 1908, 15,000 women marched in New York City, demanding that they get the right to vote, better pay and shorter working hours, leading to the Socialist Party in America declaring the first National Women’s Day in 1909. 

 

In 1910, Clara Zetkin, a leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, suggested that every country celebrate women for one day around the world to “press for demands” and further their cause for equality. The first Women’s Day was observed on March 19 the following year in Switzerland, Austria and Denmark. Though countries would start celebrating the holiday immediately, the United Nations didn’t celebrate it until March 8, 1975, making it a global holiday. 

 

When is International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day as we now know it is celebrated on March 8. The date was chosen after a war-time strike in 1917, where Russian women demanded bread and peace, striking from work and eventually forcing the Tsar to abdicate. The provisional government then gave women the right to vote. The first day of the strike was March 8th. 

 

What colors should you wear to celebrate? 

Purple, green and white are the colors of International Women’s Day. According to theInternational Women’s Day website,"Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity, albeit a controversial concept.” They add, “The colors originated from the Women's Social and Political Union in the United Kingdom in 1908.” 

 

How can you celebrate? 

 

Why should we celebrate?

There is so much work to be done when it comes to achieving equality for women. Think of Greece with its 24% tax on period products (check out our petition here), or the violence perpetrated against women around the globe.UN Women reported that the coronavirus pandemic “could wipe out 25 years of increasing gender equality. We have a long way to go before our sisters around the globe are experiencing gender equality, and it’s our job to uplift, celebrate and demand better for one another!