March 8 is International Women’s Day
International Women's Day is designed to be a day of unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action relating to women’s struggle for equality. It falls within the month of Women’s History Month held annually in March. Originally known as International Working Women’s Day, it has been happening around the world, in various forms, for over a century. This year on March 8, we’re taking a look at what International Women’s Day is all about.
The beginnings of an international celebration
The earliest documented Women’s Day was held on February 28, 1909 in New York. March 8 became the official date for International Women’s Day in 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed that March 8 was the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace. Since then, International Women’s Day has only moved onwards and upwards, gaining more momentum and becoming a day for proclaiming bold actions to drive change.
For 2017, the theme for International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange, a theme aimed at encouraging women to be leaders within their own spheres of influence by taking ground-breaking action that drives genuine change.
According to the World Economic Forum, in its 2016 Global Gender Gap Report, the gender gap between men and women won’t close entirely until 2186. The Report summary revealed:
“More than a decade of data has revealed that progress is still too slow for realizing the full potential of one half of humanity within our lifetimes.”
With this data in mind, the #BeBoldforChange initiative is encouraging business leaders, celebrities, government officials, community leaders, CEOs and corporate board members to make public statements of support.
The values driving International Women’s Day
There are 10 specific values that underpin International Women’s Day:
- Justice – women need to be afforded the same equal rights and opportunities as men
- Dignitity – means all people have the right to be valued, respected and receive ethical treatment
- Hope – The Suffragettes campaigned tirelessly for a better world, one where women would receive equal rights and opportunities
- Equality – all people have equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents. Collaboration – just like the Suffragettes, today’s women understand that there is strength in numbers and power in unity
- Tenacity – “Deeds not words” was the motto of the Suffragettes and International Women’s Day is the worldwide celebration of those that work to improve the social, economic and political status of women
- Appreciation – International Women’s Day is a UN-designated day, held each year to celebrate the achievements of women
- Respect – Respect for others is a key value underpinning the ethos and agenda of International Women’s Day
- Empathy – International Women’s Day is about improving the general understanding about the plight of women
- Forgiveness – to this day, it’s women that are on the receiving end of harsh discrimination in the workplace. Banding together (women and men) to create positive change is what International Women’s Day is all about.
On March 8, join the conversations about International Women’s Day happening across all your favourite social media channels. Follow the hashtags #IWD, #Gettingtoequal and #BeBoldForChange to add your voice. We'll be there. Check out our Pinterest board on Women in Technology.