What is International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (IWD), which was earlier called as the International Working Women’s Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. The day is observed to honour women from different fields for their achievements and also to take steps to empower women across the nations. The day is commemorated to mark the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is also significant because it stresses on gender equality along with stressing on women’s rights and education. Its aim is to bring about a significant improvement in the lives of the women throughout the globe. The United Nations (UN) theme for International Women’s Day for the year 2016 is Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality, which is aimed at giving an impetus to equal rights for women. A new event called ‘He For She Arts Week’ was started this year to use art to promote gender equality. The UN Women wing has chosen Harry Potter star Emma Watson as its Goodwill Ambassador. To mark the occasion UN Women organized International Women’s Day programs in over 60 nations; it included a march and cycling rally in India’s capital New Delhi on March 6. A part of the proceeds earned through programs held on the occasion go to UN Women. It was in 1975 that the United Nations observed the first International Women’s Day. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution regarding the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, which member nations could observe on any day of the year depending on their traditions. The annual theme was incorporated by the UN in 1996. The first theme being: ‘Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future’.
How A Special Day Was Thought About
The IWD is being observed since the early 1900’s during the phase of spread of industrialization when the world was in disarray and population was growing exponentially and radical ideologies were also on the rise. The day has been observed on a regular basis for over a century now and is growing with leaps and bounds. Governments, NGOs, charities, corporations, academic institutions, women's networks, organisations observe this day in their own way by announcing schemes, holding programmes, conducting awareness events on Women's Day. In the words of world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem: “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”.
It was in the year 1908 that the struggle for women’s rights began taking shape. Women were disgruntled by their suppression and this fueled a lot of debate and activism among them. Unable to bear more, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding lesser work hours, better pay and voting rights in1908. Complying with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed on 28 February, 1909 in the entire United States.
The idea of an International Women’s Day was proposed by Clara Zetkin who was the Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany. Zetkin came up with the idea when the second International Conference of Working Women was being organised in Copenhagen in 1910. Zetkin suggested that every country should observe a Women’s Day on the same day every year so that women are able to voice their demands universally. Zetkin’s advice was seriously taken by over 100 women from 17 countries, belonging to unions, socialist parties, working women's clubs and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament. The outcome was International Women's Day to which all women agreed to. Following this agreement, for the first time International Women's Day was observed in the nations of Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March 1911. Rallies were held on the occasion, in which more than a million men and women took part. The issues taken up in the rallies were on women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. The dreadful conditions in which women work came to the fore when over 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants lost their lives in the tragic ‘'Triangle Fire’ in New York City on 25 March. The issues of working conditions and labour legislation in America became a talking point for subsequent International Women’s Day events.
Russian women celebrated their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. It was in this year that a consensus was reached during discussions that International Women’s Day be changed to March 8 and since then this day has been fixed as the global day to observe International Women's Day. On 8th March, 1914 International Women’s Day was celebrated in London, when British suffragette leader Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square. It is believed that after this day IWD was celebrated on 8 March every year.
Why Is The Day So Important?
On women’s day people celebrate the qualities that women have along with expressing gratitude for their existence. It is the day when stress is laid on the identity of a woman, her troubles and struggles like disparity at work and home, lack of equal opportunities, gender discrimination. This day seeks to empower women, to appreciate their contribution in different fields of life, to thank them for their efforts to bring change in the society, to honour them for the courage and hard work they put in to establish themselves despite odds. In India for the past few years Women’s Day is encouraging acid attack survivors by honouring them at ceremonies and helping them shape their careers or run small businesses because they showed the courage to come to the forefront and lead an honourable life. In the words of Melinda Gates: “A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” Girls like Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai have been lauded on International Women’s Day so that they inspire women all around the world. She has asked teenagers on women’s day to use social media to raise issues of gender parity and emphasize upon problems that women are facing.
The Fervor Fades And Is Reignited
As the world touched the new millennium in 2000, International Women's Day activity had ceased in many nations. The revival happened after the website internationalwomensday.com was launched and all information pertaining to the day was available on it. The website is supported by corporations and funds are generated through the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). The IWD takes up an annual theme, which is globally relevant and around which all activities are held in order to celebrate IWD and to hold programs that lead to gender equality. Its recent themes have been – ‘Make it happen’, ‘The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum’ and ‘Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures’.
The year 2011 was the centenary year celebration of International Women’s Day. The president of the United States Barack Obama declared March 2011 to be ‘Women's History Month’. He urged Americans to recall the extraordinary achievements of women who contributed to build the country’s history. The ‘100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through International Exchanges’ was also launched by the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The day also found support from celebrity activist Annie Lennox in the United Kingdom and charities like Oxfam. Google also raises awareness about the day by changing its Doodle on the day.
Telling Women They Are Precious
It is also the day to express that women hold a lot of importance in men’s life. One way of showering regard on women is through gifts. There are myriad gifts for International Women’s Day. Right from conventional gifts like sweets, chocolates, jewellery, flowers, cards, watches, clutches, wallets, bags, clothes, kitchen ware to unconventional gifts like cakes, grooming kits, gadgets, electronic devices, kitchen devices, photo frames and many others. Gifting has become easier with online orders and home delivery. If you are hard-pressed for time then glancing through gifting portals like awesomeji.com can solve your problem. The portal offers midnight delivery, same day delivery and free delivery and the items are pretty cheap. One can send gifts to the women they celebrate all across India and overseas to nations like Canada, UK, U.S, U.A.E and Australia or buy online and gift it themselves at very low prices. Gifts can also be sent to India from Canada, UK, America, U.A.E and Australia and timely delivery can be taken for granted. One can also celebrate the spirit of womanhood by simply sending an e-card to the woman or women who are indispensable in your life. One thing that awesomeji.com helps you with is you can order a combination of a soft toy and a bouquet or vase flowers. You will be spoilt for choice after looking at the range of fresh flowers that awesomeji has to offer. You can Pick Roses, Lilies, Tulips, Chrysanthemums, Carnations, Phalaenopsis Orchid cut or with long stem at cheap prices. Moreover, you can add a chocolate or a cake or a cuddly teddy bear with it- just browse through the site of awesomeji.com you will have more options to top up your gifts and make them more memorable.