International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the historical, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also is a day of action in support of taking action against gender inequality around the world. We all know the world couldn’t run without women (we mean, just listen to Beyoncé). This is the day to appreciate their efforts! Organizations large and small come together to show women just how valuable they are in today’s society..
History of International Women's Day
Susan B. Anthony was a political activist and an advocate of women’s rights. After the Civil War, she fought for the Fourteenth Amendment that was meant to grant all naturalized and native-born Americans citizenship in the hope that it would include suffrage rights. Although the fourteenth amendment was ratified in 1868, it still didn’t secure their vote. In 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was founded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Anthony to continue the fight for women’s rights.
In the early 1900s, women were experiencing pay inequality, a lack of voting rights, and they were being overworked. In response to all of this 15,000 women marched in through New York City in 1908 to demand their rights. In 1909, the first National Women’s Day was observed in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. This was celebrated on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
An International Women’s Conference was organized in August 1910, by Clara Zetkin, a German suffragist and leader in the Women’s Office. Zetkin proposed a special Women’s Day to be organized annually and International Women’s Day was honored the following year in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, with more than one million attending the rallies. On August 18, 1920, the nineteenth amendment was ratified and white women were granted the right to vote in the US.
The liberation movement took place in the 1960s and the effort led to the passage of the Votings Rights Act, allowing all women the right to vote. When the internet became more commonplace, feminism and the fight against gender inequality experienced a resurgence. Now we celebrate International Women’s Day each year as we push continuously with the hope of creating a completely equal society.
International Women's Day timeline
With the age of the internet rising, the message of feminism becomes unified with a focused direction.
The Women’s Liberation movement fights for politics, work, the family, and sexuality and all women are given the right to vote.
Clara Zetkin proposes a Women's Day celebration, and International Women's Day is celebrated annually from this point forth.
The National Women’s Suffrage Association was founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to advocate for women's rights.
International Women's Day Media Coverage
International Women's Day - Survey Results
2017 — THE BIGGEST ISSUES FACING AMERICAN WOMEN
#1: Unequal pay (23%)
#2: The ability to balance a career and children (22%)
#3: Sexual violence (15%)
#4: Sexual objectification (15%)
#5: Reproductive rights (11%)
#6: Underrepresentation in politics (7%)
#7: Underrepresentation in business leadership (6%)
2018 — THE BIGGEST ISSUES FACING AMERICAN WOMEN
#1: Sexual violence (38%)
#2: Sexual objectification (35%)
#3: Unequal pay (34%)
#4: The ability to balance a career and children (32%)
#5: Underrepresentation in business leadership (20%)
#6: Reproductive rights (19%)
#7: Underrepresentation in politics (16%)
2018 — PROSECUTING SEXUAL ASSAULT AND HARASSMENT CRIMINALS
America should prosecute sexual assault and harassment criminals…
#1: More often (58%)
#2: The same amount (20%)
#3: The same amount, but reach more guilt verdicts (14%)
#4: Less often (7%)
2018 — THE BEST WAY TO STOP SEXUAL ASSAULT AND HARASSMENT
#1: A stricter legal system (43%)
#2: Prosecuting more criminals (43%)
#3: Better education (42%)
#4: Eliminating rape culture in media (35%)
#5: Workplace equality (29%)
International Women's Day FAQs
Is International Women’s Day an official holiday?
International Women’s Day is an official holiday in dozens of countries.
Is International Women’s Day always on daylight’s saving time?
March 8 is daylight’s saving time in various Northern Hemisphere territories, so it aligns with International Women’s Day for them.
Do women live longer than men?
Women generally live longer than men by six to eight years due to biological and behavioral advantages.
International Women's Day Activities
There's an International Women’s Day event in nearly every major city and you can pick and choose what attracts you most. There are concerts where you can listen to live music, art exhibitions where talented creators display their work, and networking summits where you can hear guest speakers discuss women’s rights.
Do like they do in the rest of the world
Send a bouquet, thank you card, or some small gift to your mother, sister or co-worker. It’s guaranteed to brighten their day, give you a boost in their eyes, and help commemorate a wonderful day.
Learn more about a woman you admire
We all have our favorite musicians, actresses, and historical figures, but have you taken the time to truly know their story? Do some digging and learn about what their life was like. Chances are they’ve been through their fair share of trials and tribulations you’ll be inspired by their perseverance.
Five Facts About International Women’s Day
Recognized by the U.N.
In 1975 the United Nations officially adopted International Women's Day.
A day for mothers
Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, and Uzbekistan celebrate International Women’s Day and Mother's Day together.
Each year International Women's Day has a theme and for 2020 it was "An equal world is an enabled world."
In 2015 the UN reported that women still earn an average of 24 percent less than men do worldwide.
Women are in session
In Algeria, women make up 70% of the country's lawyers and 60% of its judges.
Why We Love International Women's Day
It’s international and inter-organizational
No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network, or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day was established and has been celebrated for a long time! As Gloria Steinem says, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” We agree! The day is all about intersectionality, whether that's the organizations that support International Women’s Day or the type of women the day celebrates.
It’s a global holiday
International Women’s Day is an official holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia. The tradition sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, and more with flowers and small gifts. There might be cultural differences between countries, but the appreciation of women and their accomplishments transcends all boundaries.
It raises awareness around the world
It may seem that we have progressed very far by 2016. Some progress has been made, yes. However, a recent study of 145 nations showed that there's still a gender gap. Iceland has come closest to equality in economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment, and that's definitely a start. But in other places like Yemen, women are only considered half a witness in court cases. They're even forbidden to leave the house without their husband’s permission. IWF was created to strive toward a standard of gender equality for all countries. Because, as we all know, raising awareness about women’s plight around the world helps elevate all women.
International Women's Day dates
International Women's Day Featured Video
International Women's Day