Women have come a long way in this world, and rightfully so that progress is honored every year on March 8. What is International Women’s Day, you ask? You may have noticed the date coming up on your calendar. Obviously, we don’t need a designated holiday to celebrate the ongoing strength and courage of women, because women are so amazingly awesome that we should be celebrated every single day, but it’s nice to have a day to appreciate the hard work made by previous generations in the fight for gender equality. And, that’s exactly what International Women’s Day is all about.
While the fight is far from over, the progress women have made since the first International Women’s Day in 1908 is seriously impressive. It all started when 15,000 amazing women marched through the streets of New York City that year demanding shorter work hours, better pay, and the right to vote. Fast forward to today, and we’re not only voting, but we might soon be electing our first ever woman president. It might have taken a century to get this far, but change doesn’t happen overnight. And who knows where we’d be right now if not for those 15,000 marchers? So in addition to sending those 15,000 heroes a million thank-yous on March 8 this year, take some time to fully understand this holiday, what it means, and how it’ll continue to inspire change around the world.
Here are more fun facts about International Women’s Day that you should know.
- It wasn’t always celebrated on March 8
The holiday is now celebrated on March 8 every year, but for the first five years, it was celebrated on Feb. 28. Then, in 1913-1914, Russian women celebrated International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February. It has since been transferred to an annual celebration on March 8.
- The meaning of the holiday has evolved
It began as a massive protest by women who wanted better working conditions, better pay, and the right to vote. But since then, the holiday has evolved into a day of awareness on women’s progress in the ongoing fight for gender equality, and a day to address issues across the globe that directly affect women.
- It’s an official holiday in over 25 countries
IWD is now a recognized holiday in 27 countries! This includes China, Vietnam, Uganda, Afghanistan, Cuba, and Russia.
- It started as a day, and is now celebrated all month long
The U.S. now uses the entire month of March to celebrate women’s history. We certainly deserve a whole month, ya know?
- Hillary Clinton helped this holiday regain its relevance
Before Clinton began her current presidential campaign, she launched the “100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls Through International Exchanges” in 2011 as a way to celebrate women all over the world.
- Google loves the ladies
Make sure to check Google’s homepage on March 8, as it continues to honor IWD each year with a themed doodle.
- It’s not just celebrated by women
President Obama was responsible for making March Women’s History Month, starting in 2011. And even though IWD was created by women for women, it is honored each year by more and more men who understand the importance of gender equality. The more the merrier!
- You can take action
There are many ways you can be part of the IWD celebrations this year. IWD’s website offers options to take action, including a pledge, ways to host your own gender parity event, and information on why this is such a global necessity. So do your part, and keep this amazing celebration going strong each year.