International Women’s Day is celebrated in countries worldwide. The goal? To recognize women from all divisions, nationalities, ethnicities, cultural, economic, or political backgrounds for their achievements and successes and encourage equality.
1908 brought insurmountable oppression and inequality for women working in Industrialized America. This inspired women across the country to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change; 15,000 women, in fact. These Women marched through New York City advocating for better working conditions: shorter hours, better pay, voting rights, oh my!
By 1909, the Socialist party of America declared the first National Women’s Day in the United States which was originally celebrated on the 28th of February. As World War I swept the nation in full fury, International Women’s Day quickly became a mechanism for protesting the War. Russian women celebrated the day with the United States on the 28th of February, 1913 as part of the peace movement. One year later, European women held rallies around March 8th protesting the war and advocating again for women worldwide.
The United Nations celebrated International Women’s Day for the first time on March 8, 1975 and has since become a global day of celebration by groups, organizations, and individuals alike.
Read more about the chronological order of International Women’s Day here.
The Colors of International Women’s Day
Purple. This is the international color for women as it signifies dignity and justice, two of the most important goals advocated for by women in 1908.
Green, symbolizing hope. Hope the women had in advocating for better working conditions, hope for a quick end to World War I, hope for women and women’s rights – past, present, and future.
White/Yellow. White typically represents purity. However, in recent years, ‘purity’ has become a controversial topic and is no longer used. Signifying a second wave of feminism, yellow has replaced white.
Historically, the combination of purple, green, and white symbolized 1908 female equality movements by the Women’s Social and Political Union in the UK. As feminism and women’s rights movements have evolved since 1908, the color combinations signify differences in time periods and beliefs. Combined, purple and yellow represent progressive contemporary feminism. Conversely, purple and green used together signify traditional feminism.
2018 Campaign Theme
According to the Global Gender Gap Report for 2017 generated by the World Economic Forum, it will take another 217 years to close the international economic gender gap. Benchmarking 144 countries and their progression toward gender equality, this number is astounding.
So this year’s campaign theme? #PressforProgress. Echoing women’s equality movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp, and more, there has never been a stronger call-to-action to press forward on gender parity.
Start raising awareness and encouraging others to take action via Thunderclap – the collaborative social media platform that allows people worldwide to band together and spread messages. Over 985 supporters who have reached over 5,698,000 people on social media so far. Share your message here.
How to Press for Progress
International Women’s Day does not belong to one single organization. Therefore, it does not limit who can participate, and it does not exclude advocators. Instead, it is a day and a movement intended to be celebrated by women worldwide. Widely accepted is the idea that IWD aims to also encourage collective action and shared responsibility between all genders.
Here are some ways you can join in on the 2018 #PressforProgress movement in your life:
- Challenge Stereotypes. Look around you and question gender inequality. Does it exist around you? In your company? In your relationships? Question assumptions and challenge statements. Advocate for equality always.
- Influence Change. Identify ways to make the women around you stand out for exceptional performance. Extend opportunities to highlight their strengths and share why you believe in that person with others. Better yet, hire, teach, and engage with women in the workforce. Lastly, lead by example and be a role model for those around you and people who look up to you.
- Celebrate the Pioneers. Celebrate the pioneers behind International Women’s Day and their accomplishments. Share information about women of history and accomplishments made by women.
Are you ready to take action? Share your opinions, thoughts, and action-pledges on social media today and throughout the month of March to show your support and celebration of International Women’s Day.