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

Stock image. (Photo by Leon Neal) (Getty Images)

For those who don’t know, March 8 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?

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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.

For a list of events near you, 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 Inspire Inclusion.

The website states:

When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world.

And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment.

Collectively, let’s forge a more inclusive world for women.

This article was initially published in 2021. It has since been updated.

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.

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