International Women's Day 2012, on March 8, marks the 101st time the international holiday has been celebrated, a tribute Google looks to honor with its latest Google Doodle.

The first National Women's Day, held in the U.S. back in 1909, was initiated by the Socialist Party of America as part of a general move towards greater socioeconomic, racial and gender equality. By 1911, however, International Women's Day was being celebrated--and rallied around--in Austria, Demark, Germany and Switzerland. More than a million people marched in the demonstrations to demand voting and working rights for women, according to the United Nations' account.

This is the fourth time Google has replaced its logo with an International Women's Day-themed Doodle since 2005.

Below, here are five things to know about the 2012 Google Doodle and the three that have come before it, from what this year's design means to what the founder of the International Women's Day web site thinks of tributes like the site's Google Doodle.

1. What Does This Year's Google Doodle Mean?

This year's Google Doodle sports a bright, abstract, semi-transparent design. The overlapping letters begin with the universal female symbol for G, and the second O is now a marigold-looking yellow flower. The first O and E, meanwhile, are now red circle, with a leaf-green L to echo the marigold's stem.

The purple hues and the Venus symbol standing in for the first G are echoes of the International Women's Day logo, created by founder Glenda Stone.

The golden flower and the earthy red and green letters, meanwhile, stand in for this year's theme. Every International Women's Day has a new focus, one that could be used to rally men and women around a specific cause. In 2010, that focus was on women who have been displaced by war.

On the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, President Obama announced that march 2011 would be Women's History Month, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the 100 Women Initiative, bringing leaders from 92 countries to the U.S. to speak to young women about key foreign policy issues affecting women around the world.

This year, the UN theme for International Women's Day is Empower Rural Women--End Hunger and Poverty, focusing on the barriers and discrimination women and girls face in rural areas. According to the U.N., rural women and girls are one-fourth of the world's population, yet routinely figure at the bottom of every economic, social and political indicator.

Because of the emphasis on agricultural farming and other forms of rural labor, this year's Google Doodle evokes nature, and the potential for blossoming and growth. The red dots are also remniscent of the bindi, a symbol associated with Indian women.

2. What Were The Other Three Google Doodles For IWD?

Google has dedicated a Doodle to International Women's Day three times in the past: on March 8, 2005; on March 8, 2009; and on March 8, 2011, to celebrate the holiday's centennial. You can check them out here.

3. What Did Google Do For The 100th Anniversary?

Clicking on the International Women's Day 2012 Google Doodle brings users to a search page with information about the IWD web site, this year's theme and news articles about Women's Day events.

Last year, however, Google offered an intricate colored sketch in place of its usual Doodle. When users clicked on it, they were sent to 300 Join Women on the Bridge events in 50 countries. The search engine also changed its StreetView icon Pegman to a Pegwoman for the day.

4. What Does Glenda Stone Have To Say?

“International Women’s Day has become a powerful day for women activists banding together to have their voice heard,” Glenda Stone, founder of the International Women's Day web site, told The Washington Post.

“It has also become a mainstream day for celebrating the success of women in all fields across all countries. The day is used to fundraise, launch research findings, announce special initiatives and even promote companies and products.

As such, Stone appreciates what Google and other companies do to raise awareness of the holiday and to get more people to use the search engine to find out what they can do.

“The true depth that lies behind why this day is so powerful, however,” Stone continued, “should really only be measured by three things: the level of awareness increased globally for overcoming inequalities for women; the levels of action and finance that are allocated directly as a result of Women’s Day campaigning; and the decrease or eradication of inequalities against women worldwide.”

5. What Google Doodles Are Next?

According to IBN, the 2012 International Women's Day Doodle is the 1324th Google Doodle since the first ever, which appeared in honor of the Burning Man Festival on August 30, 1998.

Google creates many dozens of google Doodles every year, many of them country, people or day-specific. The search engine recently launched its Doodle 4 Google 2012 contest inviting young artists in the U.S. to create themed logos of their own.

Below, check out a video in honor of International Women's Day 2012 and today's Google Doodle, and watch a message from UN executive director Michelle Bachelet.

Google Doodle For International Women's Day 2012:

A Message From Michelle Bachelet For International Women's Day 2012: