International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8.

Who started Women’s Day celebration?

In August 1910, an International Socialist Women’s Conference was organized to precede the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, Denmark. Inspired in part by the American socialists, German delegates Clara Zetkin, Kate Duncker and others proposed the setting up of an annual ‘Women’s Day’.

What is International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day for celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

What colours signify International Women’s Day?

Internationally, purple is taken as a colour to symbolize women’s day.

History of Women’s Day

International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s.
 
1908: Great unrest and critical debate was taking place among women. Oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. This year, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
 
1909: In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on February 28.
 
1910: In 1910, a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year there should be a celebration on the same day in every country – an International Women’s Day – to press for their demands. The suggestion received unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day was instituted.
 
1911: Following the decision agreed upon at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women’s Day (IWD) was honoured for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, hold public office and end discrimination. However, less than a week later, on 25 March, the tragic ‘Triangle Fire’ in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women’s Day events. The year 1911 also saw women’s Bread and Roses’ campaign.
 
1975: International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975.

What is the theme of Women’s Day 2021?

The theme for Women’s Day 2021 is “‘Choose To Challenge’. Read on to know more about the significance of the theme.
 
Past Women’s Day themes
 
1996: Celebrating the past, planning for the future
1997: Women and the peace table
1998: Women and human rights
1999: World free of violence against women
2000: Women uniting for peace
2001: Women and peace: women managing conflicts
2002: Afghan women today: Realities and opportunities
2003: Gender equality and the millennium development goals
2004: Women and HIV/AIDS
2005: Gender equality beyond 2005; building a more secure future
2006: Women in decision-making
2007: Ending impunity for violence against women and girls
2008: Investing in women and girls
2009: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
2010: Equal rights, equal opportunities: progress for all
2011: Equal access to education, training, and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women
2012: Empower rural women, end poverty and hunger
2013: A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women
2014: equality for women is progress for all
2015: Empowering women, empowering humanity: Picture it!
2016: Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for gender equality
2017: Women in the changing world of work: Planet 50-50 by 2030
2018: Time is now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives
2019: Think equal, build smart, innovate for change

2020: I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights

Also Read: 25+ Incredible and Empowering International Women’s Day Quotes