INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2019: HISTORY, THEME, WHEN DID IT START?
International women’s Day 2019 Review
March is Women’s History Month but one day out of the month specifically is designated as International Women’s Day. The day designated for celebrating women annually is March 8, which this year, falls on Friday.
“The day is not a country, group or organization specific – and belongs to all groups collectively everywhere,” according to the International Women’s Daywebsite. There are several colors that are frequently used for celebrating the day. Purple is frequently worn as a symbol of women along with green and historically, white was also worn.
The day is generally celebrated around the world with activism, events to celebrate women, conferences and more. Google typically also participates in the day by updating the doodle on its homepage as well.
The first International Women’s Day happened in 1911 across several countries in Europe including Austria and Germany, according to the United Nations. More than a million people attended rallies that day to protest for women’s right to vote and hold office.
In 1909 the Socialist Party of America honored women on a national scale, the date was chosen because it was the year anniversary of the garment workers strike, according to the UN. Between that first national celebration of the day and today the day has changed a bit but the purpose of honoring and supporting women’s rights has remained the same.
The day was used as a time to protest WWI in countries across Europe and in Russia in 1913 and 1914. In 1945 the UN signed the Charter of the United Nations that affirmed that men and women were equals.
It wasn’t until 1975 that the United Nations started celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8 every year. It was made a formal day two years later, according to the UN.
Today some organizations declare a theme around the day each year but there’s no official overarching theme. The UN declared the 2019 theme “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.” The theme is meant to help bring about innovative ways change can be made for “gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.”
The International Women’s Day organization declared the theme “#BalanceBetter” for a gender-balanced world. “The future is exciting. Let’s build a gender-balanced world. Everyone has a part to play – all the time, everywhere. From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence,” said the International Women’s Day website.