International Women’s Day is coming up in just a few days. What is IWD, I hear you say? I’m glad you asked! IWD has been marked yearly on 8 March since the early twentieth century. That is, it began with a National Women’s Day in the United States on 28 February 1909 as started by the Socialist Party of America. The next year, a more international Women’s Day came about with a vote at the Socialist International meeting in Copenhagen. IWD was first celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland the next year, and gradually spread around the world; you can read more about all this at the UN website. Wikipedia lists the following countries as observing the day: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Italy, Israel, Laos, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia. That’s quite a list!
In 1975, International Women’s Day was adopted by the United Nations. They assign a new theme every year; this year’s theme is ‘Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all’. On their site they’ve got listed a wide range of events, and these are not limited to 8 March. In fact, if you hurry you can get into online discussions by way of contributing to Beijing+15, the 15-year review of progress following on from the hugely important Beijing Platform for Action. Here’s the UN’s calendar of events around women’s rights for this year.
But wait, there’s more! Here’s a pretty good website dedicated to International Women’s Day, not an official one, I’ll note. They maintain a list of IWD events around the world; as I’m writing this, upwards of 500 are listed. What’s more, if you’ve got a celebration or event or gathering planned, you can add it to the site yourself. If you were wondering whence I obtained that nifty logo up top, it’s from this page and there are a bunch more.
Gender Across Borders (which is a marvellous feminist blog with an international focus you should check out) has something special planned. They’re running a Blog for International Women’s Day event which you yourself can participate in! Bloggers are being asked to think on either ‘What does “equal rights for all” mean to you?’ or ‘Describe a particular organization, person, or moment in history that helped to mobilize a meaningful change in equal rights for all.’ Be sure to sign up and get your blog on the list of participating blogs. You can grab all the details you need here.
So get ready for a day packed full of events and blogging and focus on women around the world!
Edit: Emily from GAB has contacted me regarding the unofficial International Women’s Day site mentioned above. There are a number of issues regarding Thomson Reuters’ involvement with the site.
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