No it is not an Archie’s holiday, it’s not a holiday that is looking to make you buy gifts for your girlfriend or your mother. It is part of a much larger movement that started a century ago! To help all of you lovely people out there I have done the research and got everything about IWD you need to know below.
It all started in the early 20th century women’s jobs were mainly sex segregated, wages were horrible and working conditions even worse. We were at the cusp of Union movements, and women supported men immensely in their efforts to unionize, but after sometime they realized that their issues were not being brought up by men(We were kind of busy with our own fight). This led to some brave women starting their own unions and fighting for their rights. An abridged timeline for the events that followed is below (Timeline taken from the IWD website)
- In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
- In 1909, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February.
- In 1910, A woman named Clara Zetkin tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. The suggestion was greeted with unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day was established.
- In 1911, International Women’s Day was honored for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March.
- In 1975, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations.
- In 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by its Member States.
- In 2001, The global internationalwomensday.com digital hub for everything IWD was launched to re-energize the day as an important platform to celebrate the successful achievements of women.
OK now that you understand the historical context, let’s talk about why it matters in 2016.
As much as we dislike and try to stop it the fact remains women are discriminated against not in same way the early 1900s but still discriminated against. IWD is an important platform for women to discuss this and to address gender parity. Gender Parity is calculated as the quotient of the number of women by the number of men enrolled in education institutes (I Googled it).
Since 1996, each year has had a theme. This year’s theme is “Step It up for Gender Parity” and you can participate in the conversation by using the hashtag #PledgeForParity. You can also simply sign the pledge to help achieve gender parity by following the link, but more importantly make a conscious choice to ensure that every man you know respects women and shows them their valued. At the end of the day if we want women to respect us, we must respect them too and showing support for International Women’s Day is just one way of doing that. I will leave you with words on the matter from our President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee–
“On the occasion of International Womens Day, I extend warm greetings and good wishes to the women of India and thank them for their contributions over the years in the building of our nation.
Women have always been given the highest level of respect in our country. Their protection and safety is a sacred duty of society as a whole. We must respect the right of women to equal opportunities and a dignified life. We have a collective responsibility to create an ecosystem that ensures the safety, security and dignity of women in society.
On International Womens Day, let us redouble our efforts for achieving gender equity and empowerment of women. Let us strive to enable our women realize their full potential and participate meaningfully in all aspects of our country’s development”.