International Women’s Day is very soon!

An International Women's Day icon. It's purple on a white background; rectangular with rounded corners. There's a purple circle with a tilted white female symbol inside, with 'International Women's Day' written underneath.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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6 comments for “International Women’s Day is very soon!

  1. March 1, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Although perhaps not officially, as I see it is not on your list, many individuals and organizations in Bolivia celebrate international women’s day, too–we’ll be reporting on some of these events at Eugenia de Altura!

  2. Saara
    March 1, 2010 at 7:35 am

    I have mixed feelings about the International Women’s Day. At least here in Finland, it’s more of a “buy roses for your wife” day, and every single year there are people complaining about there not being a Men’s Day (yeah, actually there are, 364 of them) and some celebs claiming that they don’t think feminism is needed anymore.

    It’s really a day when most of the important stuff is forgotten and we can applaud ourselves of being oh-so-equal. So what if my euro is only 80 cents, look, the guys bought us ladies some cake! I don’t know if this applies to other countries as well, I’ve heard it works like this at least in Russia too.

    Of course it’s important to have a day when women’s issues are being discussed, but when it comes to Finland, I wish we’d put more effort on the Minna Canth (my hero!) day, which is a new flagday and also the official day of equality-awarness in Finland.

  3. March 1, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Fantastic. – thanks for posting all these great links.

  4. March 1, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Thanks for the shout-out, Chally, and posting info about our Blog for IWD! -Emily

  5. American Overseas
    March 2, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Saara, you’re so right – here in the former Soviet Union, it’s the same (or worse). I’m in Kyrgyzstan now, but I’ve also lived in Turkmenistan & Russia, and it’s just all a big show about presenting women with HUGE bouquets of flowers, serving a big meal for a group of select women on state television, and everyone (men) patting themselves on the back for how much they respect their women. (We won’t even get into the fact that the most-celebrated women – the ones at that state television dinner – are the ones who produced the most sons…seem a bit hypocritical??)

    Then, on March 9th, women go back to being the slaves of society; their husbands go back to their girlfriends, start drinking heavily and beating their wives again, etc. It really is a joke.

    Of course here we also have a Men’s Day…OK, so it’s “Defenders of the Motherland” day, but in reality it’s Men’s Day. We buy gifts for the men and celebrate “their turn” as though, like you said, there’s not 364 other days of us taking care of them. Not to sound too horribly bitter…I have a wonderful husband who (mostly) appreciates that everyday is “men’s day”, but it disgusts me to see the show put on by the other men around here.

  6. Susanne
    March 4, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Alot of people don’t realise that the majority of people hungry around the world are women… and yet these women produce 60-80% of the food! The answer to hunger, I really believe lies with women. You can also send a message of solidarity to women across the world for International Women’s Day at

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