It is no secret that the future belongs to women, and March is designated as Women’s History Month around the world, with International Women’s Day honoring women’s cultural, political, and social achievements. The day is a plea for a world free of bias, stereotyping, and discrimination, one that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive, and one that values and celebrates differences.
International Women’s Day is observed on March 8 every year.
International Women’s Day arose from the efforts of labor organizations across North America and Europe around the turn of the twentieth century, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. According to UNESCO, “On February 28th, 1909, the United States celebrated the inaugural National Woman’s Day, which was established by the Socialist Party of America to commemorate the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, during which women protested against poor working conditions. On the last Sunday in February in 1917, Russian women chose to protest and strike under the slogan “Bread and Peace” (which fell on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar). Their campaign eventually resulted in the implementation of women’s suffrage in Russia.”
The United Nations Charter was the first international accord to recognize the ideal of equality between men and women in 1945, but the UN did not commemorate its first official International Women’s Day until March 8, 1975, during International Women’s Year.
In December 1977, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution declaring a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, to be marked by Member States on any day of the year, in accordance with their historical and national traditions. Finally, once the United Nations adopted International Women’s Day in 1977, it became a mainstream worldwide celebration, with member states asked to declare March 8 as an official UN holiday promoting women’s rights and world peace.
“International Women’s Day is an occasion to celebrate progress toward gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as to critically reflect on those accomplishments and strive for a greater momentum toward gender equality globally,” according to UNESCO. It’s a day to celebrate women’s outstanding achievements and to unite as a force to push gender equality around the world.”
The topic for this year’s commemoration is “Gender equality now for a sustainable tomorrow,” in honor of the women and girls who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation and response, as well as their leadership and contribution to a sustainable future.
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