Women are an important pillar of our society, committed to bringing creativity and stability in every aspect of life. They are participating effectually in every sphere from home to the office, making almost 47% of the labor force. So, they deserve to be appreciated and acclaimed.
For this purpose, International Women Day is celebrated on the 8th of March every year to honor the contributions of women in political, social, economical, and cultural aspects, which have been mainly pushed aside.
History of International Women Day:
Not only in the current world, but women have also played an integral role in all facets of our society throughout history. Be it politics, science, technology, or sports, they have successfully made their position in almost every sphere.
But, despite all these achievements and gains, women all around the world continued to face social as well as physical setbacks. Due to the perception that they are week and inferior to men, their contributions went overlooked and unappreciated. Over the centuries, they continue 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 facade. It was 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 very next year, on Feb 28, the Sociologist Party observed the first National Women Day in America, which gained huge 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 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 8th March of every year to be honored as International Women’s Day in 1977.
Objectives of International Women Day:
Since then, the Day is observed worldwide to admire women’s contributions to their loved ones and society. People celebrate International Women Day to:
· Acknowledge women achievements
· raise awareness regarding their rights and equality.
· Fundraising for female-focused charities
International Women Day celebrations in 2021:
Just like previous years, millions of people celebrated International Women Day on March 8th, 2021, wearing purple, green, and white colors to symbolize justice, dignity, and hope, respectively. 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 regions of the world.
Women’s rights activists:
Although the declaration of 8th March, as an International Women 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 rights activists are also striving today across the world to safeguard women’s rights. Here are a few examples of such groups:
1. Women’s Global Empowerment Fund:
Established in 2007, the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund is perusing 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 the number of mother mortality rates in counties like India, Haiti, and Tanzania.
4. Equality Now
Equality Now is one of the most influential women’s rights advocacy groups focused on terminating gender-biased laws around the world. 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.
5. Pathfinder International
Pathfinder International was established in 1957. Since then, the organization is striving to promote healthy pregnancies and reproductive rights among women in the most vulnerable area worldwide.
Its main mission is to create a world where every woman has access to contraception, where no woman dies during pregnancy, and everyone has access to healthy reproductive life.
Women’s day is an important landmark in recognizing and appreciating the massive role women play in society’s development and progress and a proclamation of the fact that women are no less than men.