Journée internationale de la femme (French)

source: Getty Images

What is it?

Every 8th March, the world comes together to celebrate International Women’s Day! – a day dedicated to honoring the achievements of women and advocating for gender equality. This year, while marking this significant event, it’s crucial to reflect on women’s progress and the challenges that still lie ahead in the journey towards gender equality. 

International Women’s Day (IWD) is not just about celebrating the accomplishments of women. It is also a reminder of the ongoing fight for gender equality and women’s empowerment in all aspects of life – the workplace, education, politics, and society as a whole.

So … how did this all begin?

In the early 1900s, in New York City, the earliest documented Women’s Day Event was called “National Woman’s Day”. At Theresa Malkiel‘s request, the Socialist Party of America (SPA) organised it. There was a lot of resentment and passionate disagreement amongst women. 

Women’s motivation for International Women’s Day came from two things – the struggle for women to form trade unions and having a franchise.

Women were becoming increasingly outspoken and involved in the fight for change as a result of the oppression and unfairness they faced. Consequently, 15,000 women marched through New York City in 1908 to demand voting rights, higher pay, and fewer working hours.

Internation Women’s Day (IWD) was mostly observed by communists until second-wave feminists started celebrating it around 1967. The day made a comeback as an activist celebration, and it is occasionally referred to as the “Women’s International Day of Struggle” throughout Europe. Women’s groups demanded equal pay, same economic opportunities, equal legal rights, reproductive rights, subsidised child care, and an end to violence against wmen throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Labour organisation and communists joined them in this demand.

First ever organised women’s suffrage rally on 8th March 1908 in New York City.

International Women’s Day – 2024 Theme

The 2024 International Women’s Day theme, “Inspire Inclusion,” emphasises how necessary it is to confront prejudices, stereotypes, and discriminatory behaviours that hinder the advancement of women. It calls on people to actively break down fundamental barriers to make the world more equitable and welcoming for everybody. Women being included and appreciated will create a sense of belonging and importance. 

Intersectionality is important because regardless of our colour, gender, sexual orientation, religious views, socio-economic status, or level of physical or mental ability, we are all individuals with distinctive differences. Thus, there’s a richness in creating a diverse and inclusive environment that stimulates a sense of belonging and understanding to get the best out of every individual for themselves and society.

Why do we need it across the world?

Moreover, International Women’s Day serves as an opportunity to amplify the voices of marginalised women — those facing intersecting forms of discrimination based on factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Their experiences and struggles must be acknowledged and addressed in the broader fight for gender equality.

In many countries around the world, women are still facing inequality and mistreatment. Even while IWD is not a recognised public holiday in several nations—Australia, Cameroon, Croatia, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Chile, and Ghana—it is nevertheless frequently commemorated.

For example, Afghanistan has seen turbulent recent history. The nation has been occupied by Soviet forces, US-led multinational forces, and militant groups, including the notoriously harsh Taliban, during the course of the last three decades.

Women have fought for their rights and achieved some progress during the course of Afghanistan’s changing political environment in the previous fifty years, but the subject has also been used by various factions for political benefit, sometimes improving but frequently abusing the situation.

IWD is observed as a national holiday in many nations, including:

Afghanistan

Armenia

Angola

Belarus

Azerbaijan

Congo

China (for women only)

Cuba

Georgia

and many more.

Source: Ketto

On International Women’s Day, we pay remembrance to the past, cherish the present, and continue to strive towards a future in which equality for all people is a reality and women’s rights are acknowledged as human rights. To establish a more fair and inclusive world for future generations, let’s cooperate, eradicate prejudice, and make history.  

By Fatima