This is how International Women’s Day came into existence, and how it’s celebrated around the globe

A demonstrator wearing a protective mask from the feminist collective "Not One Less" performs housework chores on March 8, 2021 in Turin, Italy. A protest of the members of the Italian feminist association takes place on International Women's Day, which grew out of the U.S. labour movement and is recognized by the United Nations to celebrate women's advancement in society.
A demonstrator wearing a protective mask from the feminist collective "Not One Less" performs housework chores on March 8, 2021 in Turin, Italy. A protest of the members of the Italian feminist association takes place on International Women's Day, which grew out of the U.S. labour movement and is recognized by the United Nations to celebrate women's advancement in society. (Getty Images)

For those who don’t know, Monday is International Women’s Day, a day that recognizes and upholds the achievements of women around the world, as well as promotes gender equality.

But what are its origins, and how is it celebrated?

Here are some facts about International Women’s Day, according to the BBC.

The seeds were planted in New York City.

In 1908, a group of about 15,000 women representing the Socialist Party of America marched into New York City, demanding better working hours, pay and the right to vote.

A year later, in 1909, the group declared the first National Women’s Day.

Formal recognition internationally started in 1910, when a women by the name of Clara Zetkin suggested there be a special day of recognition at the International Conference of Working Women in Denmark.

In 1911, Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland celebrated what’s regarded as the first International Women’s Day.

It officially became a day of recognition by the United Nations in 1975.

In the United States, then-President Jimmy Carter proclaimed that the week of March 8 would be National Women’s History Week, before it turned into National History Month by Congress in 1987.

Why is International Women’s Day on March 8?

The March 8 date was believed to have been settled on because in 1917, a group of women in Russia began a four-day strike demanding peace, bread and the right to vote. The first day of that strike was on March 8.

What are the colors of International Women’s Day?

They are purple, green and white. Originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union in the United Kingdom in 1908, purple is supposed to signify justice and dignity, green signifies hope, while white symbolizes purity.

What celebrations usually take place around the world?

In China, woman are often given a half-day off work.

In Russia, the sales of flowers double during the days surrounding March 8.

In Italy, the tradition of giving mimosa blossom is practiced each year for the occasion.

While International Women’s Day is part of a broader month-long celebration in the United States, there is still usually a set of celebrations in cities across the country.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, most events and celebrations in the U.S. and around the world will be held virtually. For a list of events, click or tap here.

What is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day?

According to the International Women’s Day website, this year’s theme is “Choose to Challenge.”

The website states that “A challenged world is an alert world, and from challenge comes change.”

The website added that celebrating the achievement of women and raising awareness against bias is a way to promote gender equality.


About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.