Friday the 8th of March will see International Women’s Day return for another year, eliciting hundreds of global events, marches and talks across the globe. The roots of International Women’s Day lie in the Suffragette Movement, where the first “National Women’s Day” occurred, which was organized by Theresa Malkiel and the Socialist Party of America. The group held the protest in New York on 28th of February 1909 as a demonstration against unfair labor practice and voting laws. This inspired the inception of the International Socialist Women’s Conference, which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark in August of 1910.
At the conference, 100 delegates from 17 countries manifested the idea of IWD as a vehicle to promote equal rights. The following year on 19th of March 1911 the first IWD was observed with over 300 demonstrations attended by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. The event was annually cemented as the 8th of March in 1975, International Women’s Year, when the UN declared the day IWD and invited member nations to recognize the day as a national day for women’s rights and world peace. It has since been celebrated around the world as a day to acknowledge the social, political, economic, and cultural of women across the globe.
Why Is IWD Still Relevant?
While the origins of IWD lie in the push for women’s suffrage, there has been an evolution to the focus of the annual event. Previous themes being women’s health, end violence against women, and increasing the political influence of women. Today, there should be no question regarding the contemporary relevance of the celebration. Not whilst there’s an ongoing modern-day witch hunt of sexual predators, world leaders pumping misogyny through their thumbs on a bluebird platform, and the original agenda of the event, women’s suffrage, left unfilled rather than being a global given. Simply stated: gender equality is still a goal and not a reality.
What's This Year's Theme?
Each International Women’s Day tends to follow a theme, and this year it’s all about #BalanceForBetter, which rightly raves about professional and social equality. The theme champions equality across boardrooms, in the media and in wealth. The hashtag seeks to promote the idea of gender-balanced world in which everyone has a part to play – all the time, everywhere. So, have you Beyonce “who run the world, girls,” moment and get your hashtag on!
How Can You Help?
If you’re feeling the love surrounding IWD you can get involved in various ways. Whether or not you’re about to jet off around the globe, or if you’re rooted in London for the foreseeable, there are events happening in celebration of IWD across the globe. The IWD website shows where events are happening in countries and towns, and there will be a march in London on the 3rd of March.
Aside from the events you can make a pledge for parity by going to the IWD website and pledging to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, amongst a multitude of other aspects. Finally, why not organise your own women’s day event with the help of their IWD in a Box pack. You’ll get all sorts of bits and bobs, such as two large IWD cardboard banner posters and 20 IWD purple balloons, so you can get your party on!
What's Happening In London?
There are various events happening in London in support of IWD, as well as the large organised rally on the 3rd of March.
- Seven Dials are celebrating with a week-long campaign from the 4-10th of March. Home to an eclectic range of award-winning brands, Seven Dials will host influential women including feminist activist, journalist and curator of Sunday Times Bestseller ‘Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies’, Scarlett Curtis and trans activist and founder of Nail Transphobia, Charlie Craggs. There will also be an exclusive hub at 33 Monmouth Street welcoming quality and body posivity, offering a variety of free activities.
- BACARDI has announced their European S.H.E Summit, which will arrive in London on the 4th of March. The event centres around the theme: You Don’t Need to be in Charge to Lead, promoting self-love and acknowledging who you are in order to make a difference. Speakers include Laura Haynes, Gina Martin and Patrick Harrison, with headliner speakers to be revealed.
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