International Women’s Day: The History and Facts – A Cheat Sheet

This is a day to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. It is also an opportunity for us to reflect on the challenges ahead.

This year’s theme is “Time Is Now: Rural And Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives,” which highlights grassroots activism from rural and urban communities worldwide who are working together for change in their local contexts.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was first observed on February 28, 1909, in New York City, with over one thousand people attending, including socialists, anarchists, and feminists protesting about voting rights restrictions and unfair wages and labor conditions.

The movement has grown significantly since its inception, with annual events taking place worldwide.

Women are an essential pillar of our society, committed to bringing creativity and stability in every aspect of life. They participate effectually in every sphere from home to the office, making up almost 47% of the labor force.

For this purpose, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year to honor the contributions of women in political, social, economic, and cultural aspects, which have been mainly pushed aside.

Why It Matters

Not only in the current world, but women have also played an integral role in all facets of our society throughout history. Politics, science, technology, and sports; have successfully made their position in almost every sphere.

Due to the perception that they are weak and inferior to men, their contributions went overlooked and unappreciated.

Over the centuries, they continued to suffer, but the start of the 20th century proved to be a threshold in awaking women to stand up for their rights and demand freedom.

It was the same time when the concept of International women’s day emerged on the world’s stage.

When working women finally decided to confront the oppression and inequality, they had been facing for a long time. They stood up to procure the same rights and freedom that men used to enjoy.


In 1908, it was the first time when 15,000 women marched throughout New York, calling for shorter work hours, better salaries, and voting rights. The following year, on February 28, the Sociologist Party observed the first National Women’s Day in America, which gained massive popularity among women.

In the wake of the women’s struggles, Denmark hosted a second International Conference of Working women in 1910, where Clara Zetkin, a member of the German Social Democratic Party, proposed International Women’s Day to be celebrated on the same day by every country.

On March 9, 1911, countries like Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria celebrated International Women’s Day. Surprisingly, millions of women and men joined the rallies and campaigns to end discrimination against women. 

In the coming years, more and more people joined the movement. Ultimately, a wave of activism swept across North America and Europe, encompassing the United Nations that officially declared the March 8 of every year honored as International Women’s Day in 1977.

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Objectives of International Womens Day

Since then, the day has been observed worldwide to admire women’s contributions to their loved ones and society. People celebrate International Women Day to:

·  Acknowledge women’s achievements

·  raise awareness regarding their rights and equality.

·  Fundraising for female-focused charities

On International Women’s Day, there are huge events like marches and rallies worldwide. This shows how important it is for people everywhere to acknowledge how much women have achieved and contributed over hundreds of years – not just today but every day!

Women’s Rights Origins

The first women’s strike in Russia in 1917 demanded fair pay and better working conditions for women. This was followed by massive protests against the government not allowing women to vote or have equal rights.

This includes everything from protest marches against sexual violence to celebrations of pop culture icons like Beyonce or Rihanna (both strong women).

– In 1970, 200 American feminists protested at an anti-abortion conference organized by men who argued that abortion should be banned because it causes ’emotional scars’ to any woman having one – even though there was no scientific evidence that this was true!

– 1975 saw International Women’s Year (IWY) happening worldwide after the United Nations announced that 1975 would be a year to focus on women’s equality. It also made International Women’s Day official – previously, it was just celebrated in some countries.

– 2009 saw 5,000 women worldwide making history by swimming 1km across the Arabian Gulf together. They were all wearing bikinis with a message written along their backs, saying, ‘Women swim across the gulf for peace and solidarity.

International Women Day Celebrations

Like previous years, millions of people celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021, wearing purple, green, and white colors to symbolize justice, dignity, and hope.

As per the 2021 theme “choose to challenge,” women accepted the challenge of changing the world of gender bias and inequality, which continue to hinder women in many world regions.

Women’s rights activists

Although the declaration of March 8, as an International Women’s Day by the UN, was a significant achievement for women, activist groups played an important role in motivating them to break gender inequality and injustice barriers. They spread awareness regarding women’s rights by drawing people and honoring the survivors of violence.

In the past, several feminist groups and women’s rights activists are also striving today to safeguard women’s rights. Here are a few examples of such groups:

Women’s Global Empowerment Fund

 Established in 2007, the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund pursues the mission of women’s empowerment by providing them social, political, and economic opportunities to grow. Especially it is committed to making Ugandan women professionally independent by equipping them with business training and microloans.

Women For Women International

It is a nonprofit women activist group committed to supporting women displaced during the war or oppression. The group works in eight war-ravaged territories, including Iraq and Rwanda, to provide educational and psychosocial facilities to women in these countries.

Every Mother Counts

Found by Christy Burns, the activist group is working to ensure better medical care for mothers worldwide. Every Mother Count provides donations and training to health clinics to reduce mother mortality rates in counties like India, Haiti, and Tanzania.

Equality Now

Equality Now is one of the most influential women’s rights advocacy groups focused on terminating gender-biased laws worldwide. Since the formulation in 1992, the group helped change more than 50 such laws and granted women in Kuwait the right to cast their votes. Apart from this, equality Now also played a central role in ending sex tourism in the US by passing a law.

Pathfinder International

Pathfinder International was established in 1957. Since then, the organization has strived to promote healthy pregnancies and reproductive rights among women in the most vulnerable area worldwide.

Its primary mission is to create a world where every woman has access to contraception, no woman dies during pregnancy, and everyone has a healthy reproductive life.


This is an annual celebration of women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. It’s a time to reflect on progress made, recognize struggles that still exist, and set our eyes on a brighter future.

This day was first observed in 1909 – 100 years ago this year! To commemorate this event, we want you to share these resources with your friends to learn more about international women’s day history and some great organizations working towards gender equality worldwide.

Have any other questions? Let us know! We are here to support you along your journey into womanhood, no matter what path it takes or how many obstacles might stand in front of you.

All genders deserve equal opportunity and respect. Women’s day is a significant landmark in recognizing and appreciating women’s role in society’s development and progress and a proclamation that women are no less than men.


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