International Women’s Day is an occasion to reflect on the status of women in our world. In some parts, the day has lost its original political flavor and become an occasion for people to express their love for women in an affectionate and appreciative way.
In other parts, however, the political and human rights themes designated by the United Nations and the awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are at the forefront.
In 2015, for example, it was all about “empowerment;” to empower women was to empower humanity. In 2016, it was about creating complete gender equality by 2030, still a distant prospect in many countries.
Here’s a brief timeline of how International Women’s Day evolved over the years:
1909: The day was first observed in United States on February 28. The Socialist Part of America designated the day in honour of the garment workers’ strike in New York in 1908, where women protested for better pay and shorter working hours.
1913-14: Women’s day became a mechanism to protest war. Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last day of February to protest World War I. Women in Europe held rallies on March 8 to express solidarity with peace activists.
1975: United Nations began celebrating the day on March 8. 1975 was United Nations’ International Women’s Year.
2011: Former US President Barack Obama proclaimed March as Women’s History Month to reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments of women and honour their role in shaping a nation’s history.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is ‘Be Bold for Change’. The campaign calls on people to work towards a better working world – a more gender inclusive world.
Things may be far from ideal for women but as long as people continue to fight for equality, there is hope.
Will you #BeBoldForChange on International Women’s Day 2017 and beyond by taking groundbreaking action that truly drives the greatest change for women.
Each one of us – with women, men and non-binary people joining forces – can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.
We have urgent work to do. Are you ready to #BeBoldForChange this IWD 2017 and beyond?
[from Marija Sres, Bombay]