For over 100 years, International Women’s Day has been celebrated worldwide to commemorate women, their struggles, and their achievements. International Women’s Day was first observed by Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland in 1911 on March 19th and by Russia in 1913 on the last Sunday of February. March 8th has been the recognized date for International Women’s Day since 1914. This day is a national holiday in 27 countries, often involving men acknowledging the women who are special in their lives through flowers and small gifts.
This day is also celebrated by many more countries through events such as rallies, conferences, and parades. The United Nations has observed International Women’s Day since 1975 and has included an official theme for International Women’s Day since 1996. The theme for this year is “Equality for Women is Progress for All,” as mentioned directly in the International Women’s Day message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. The UN also holds annual forums that bring together keynote speakers and political and business leaders to discuss the status of women worldwide, focusing this year on women in agriculture and how the private sector can empower women.
This day is a reminder to everyone worldwide that women play important roles in all parts of society, from education and politics to research and business, and is a day to reflect upon women, past and present, who have made an impact on others and on society.