Today is International Women’s Day, the day we honor and celebrate all the women who are achieving amazing things in politics, economics, art, culture, and literally every other aspect of society across the entire world.
As women in the U.S. mourn the fact that there are officially no women left in the 2020 presidential race, this is an especially important time to sit back and look at the big picture. With 29 female heads of state across the world, not every country is as behind the times as the U.S. Outside of politics, women are also making strides on so many other fronts internationally.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is about more than just acknowledging women’s achievements, though. Women still have a long way to go toward equality — especially queer women, women of color, trans women, working-class women, sex workers, undocumented women, and other marginalized groups.
This day is an opportunity to spur action to make the world a better place for all women. In particular, IWD 2020 draws attention to women in technology, women in sports, equal pay, health education, and women creatives.
Each year IWD features a different theme. This year, the theme is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.”
“The Generation Equality campaign is bringing together people of every gender, age, ethnicity, race, religion and country, to drive actions that will create the gender-equal world we all deserve,” the U.N. website explains. “Together, we want to mobilize to end gender-based violence; we are calling for economic justice and rights for all; bodily autonomy, sexual and reproductive health and rights; and feminist action for climate justice. We want technology and innovation for gender equality; and feminist leadership.”
International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over 100 years. The first official IWD gathering was in 1911. That year, “more than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination,” the IWD website states. These early IWD gatherings were, in large part, motivated directly by the experiences of working-class women in garment factories and other industries.
To this day, IWD remains one of the most important days of the year in the fight for women’s equality. It’s celebrated every year on March 8.
Unlike many holidays, this one doesn’t belong to any single government, NGO, or other institution — it’s truly a global effort that organizations all over the world celebrate in their own way. It’s a national holiday in many different countries.
You can find both official and nonofficial International Women’s Day events in your city by searching the IWD event database, Google, or Facebook.