The International Working Women’s Day, now known as International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on the 8th of March. The first National Women’s Day was observed by the Socialist Party of America on February 29, 1909. The following year, it was suggested that an International Woman’s (singular) Day be established at a Conference in Copenhagen. Finally on March 19, 1911, the first International Woman’s Day was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland. The Americans marked the day annually on the last Sunday of February. It was originally celebrated in communist countries as a political event, however these days, it is an event that is observed just to celebrate the power and beauty of womanhood.
Many countries celebrate International Women’s Day as a yearly holiday and in some countries, this day is celebrated similar to Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. Women traditionally receive presents and bouquets of flowers as their loved ones honor them and show their appreciation. This year, the International Women’s Day theme is The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.
The United Nations for women’s rights and world peace
In 1977, the UN General Assembly member countries proclaimed the 8th of March as a day to celebrate the rights of women as well as world peace. Love and respect as well as appreciation for the achievements of women in various sectors, and not just politics had become the main focus of the yearly celebration. But, in certain regions, the political tone is strong, especially when the United Nations presents a yearly theme that has strong socio-political leanings. This year, the UN International Women’s Day theme is: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.” The campaign is being strongly put forward through the UNiTE campaign spearheaded by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon himself.
The struggle for equity continues
Women the world over are now engaged in a collective effort to defend their human rights and increase social awareness of their plight. And in order to advance the causes that involve women around the world, many independent organizations have initiated and promoted various activities that goes beyond staging rallies and getting together. Various advocacies headed and staffed by women are aiming to empower and more females to become leaders and prime movers in their own communities. The battle for equity continues, as many patriarchal cultures still do not allow for the full emancipation of women, as evidenced by the unequal gender distribution in the local political and socio-economic arena.
On March 8, 2013 women from around the world will again inspire each other and celebrate with a variety of activities. This year meetings, conferences, and gatherings are to be expected, as well as parades, performances, and other, cultural activities all for women. And now that the media and social networking sites are increasing the attention that this cause justly deserves, it is definitely great year for women and all who support equal rights. And, in a few days, the world will also hear the song, “One Woman” for the first time. This year is projected to be the biggest gathering of women ever and the world will be able to follow the various activities via the Internet.
To all the women in the world, Happy International Women’s Day!
Photo Credit: by B. Racoma