A History of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated every year on March 8, to recognize and honor the achievements of women throughout history, and to raise awareness about gender equality and women’s rights.

How did International Women’s Day begin?

The origins of IWD can be traced back to the early 1900s, when the global women’s movement was gaining momentum. In 1908, thousands of women marched through New York City to demand better working conditions, voting rights, and an end to discrimination. The following year, the first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28.

In 1910, at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Clara Zetkin proposed the establishment of an annual International Women’s Day. The proposal was unanimously accepted, and the first IWD was celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.

Since then, IWD has become a global day of celebration and activism, with millions of people around the world coming together to demand gender equality and women’s rights. The theme of IWD changes every year, with recent themes including “Break the Bias” (2022), “Choose to Challenge” (2021) and “Each for Equal” (2020).

What’s the purpose of International Women’s Day?

IWD has been a significant platform for women to raise awareness about their struggles and achievements. Throughout history, women have had to fight for their rights, from suffrage to workplace equality. IWD has served as a platform for women to share their stories, connect with other women, and demand action from governments and institutions.

In recent years, IWD has taken on a new level of significance, as movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp have shone a spotlight on the pervasive problem of sexual harassment and assault. IWD has become a rallying cry for women around the world who are speaking out against gender-based violence and demanding systemic change.

Despite the progress that has been made over the years, women still face significant barriers to equality. In many parts of the world, women are paid less than men for the same work, are denied access to education and healthcare, and are subjected to violence and discrimination. IWD serves as a reminder that the fight for gender equality is far from over, and that we must continue to work towards a world where all women can thrive.

International Women’s Day is an important day to recognize the achievements of women throughout history, to raise awareness about gender equality, share women’s stories, demand action, and rally people around the world to keep fighting for a more just and equal world.

International Women’s Day 2023: How You Can Help! 

The United Nations’ theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality. The UN recognizes that “bringing women and other marginalized groups into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality.” 

Each and every day, Soroptimist volunteers across the world work with women and girls to pursue their economic goals and become full participants in every sector, including technology. Soroptimists are helping build a future in which there are no limits on women’s and girls’ dreams.

This year, Soroptimists have even more reason to celebrate IWD. Two generous members from the North Atlantic Region have stepped up to offer a matching gift challenge to Double the Dreams & Double the Impact!

That means every gift made through March 8, International Women’s Day, will be matched penny for penny, up to $16,000, to make twice the difference.

Your donation today can make a real difference in the lives of women and girls by helping them achieve their education and career goals. By supporting our global Dream Programs, you are not only empowering women to succeed in their personal and professional lives, but also contributing to a more equitable and just world for all. 

Together, we can provide resources and support to women and girls who face barriers to achieving their goals, and help them to build brighter futures for themselves and their communities! Please join our special matching challenge for International Women’s Day!

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