If you’re hearing a lot of buzz around gender parity, feminism and women’s rights, it’s because Wednesday is International Women’s Day.
The day, which takes place every year on March 8, is devoted to advancing equality between the sexes and celebrates “the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women” around the globe. First celebrated early in the 20th century, the holiday is observed by anyone and everyone willing to celebrate the lifetime and achievements of women and the women’s movement.
Each year, International Women’s Day features a theme. For 2017, the theme is “Be Bold For Change.” This year’s theme aptly coincides with a series of marches and protest that will be taking place around the country and perhaps the globe. One notable event will be the “A Day Without a Woman” event, which will be hosted by the founders of the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., after inauguration in January.
To participate in A Day Without a Woman, organizers have urged women to take the day off from paid and unpaid work. They're also encouraged to avoid shopping or spending money unless the business is run or backed by a small business or is owned by a woman or minority. Finally, women were asked to wear red as a mark of support and unity.
Learn more about International Women’s Day with these 10 quick facts.
1. International Women’s Day was created to celebrate women’s achievements but also to call attention to gender parity.
2. Originally, International Women’s Day was called Working Women’s Day.
3. The first National Women’s Day was observed Feb. 28, 1909.
4. In 1908, 15,000 women marched in New York City to demand better pay and working hours as well as the right to vote.
5. The first International Women's Day was celebrated in Europe on March 19, 1911.
6. In 1975, the holiday was recognized and observed by the United Nations.
7. More than 100 countries observe International Women’s Day today.
8. The UN started the tradition of annual themes in 1996. The first was “Celebrating the past, planning for the future.”
9. The state of Wyoming was the first to give women the right to vote in 1869.
10. In some countries — like China, Russia and Zambia — men give women flowers and gifts in honor of International Women's Day.