International Women’s Day 2019: History, significance and theme

By Ashish Ranjan
Photo: City Spidey
Posted: Mar 06, 2019

The 108th International Women’s Day is just around the corner and people are gearing up to celebrate it zeal and passion. It is celebrated on March 8 every year around the globe. Our society has been a male-dominated society for long. Amidst this, the significance of International Women’s Day becomes greater as people get an opportunity to celebrate women and their contribution into the world. 

It is now more than a century that we are celebrating International Women’s Day. As far as its origin is concerned it grew out of the labour movement to become a United Nation’s recognised annual event. In 1908, around 15,000 women walked through the New York City to raise their demands for shorter working hours, better remuneration and right to vote.

Almost after a year, the Socialist Party of America declared the first National Woman’s Day. However, a lady named Clara Zetkin took the concept global by suggesting the idea of International Women’s Day at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910. All the women, who were present in the conference, belonging to 17 different countries, agreed on the proposal unanimously.

The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in countries like Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911. Since then, it is celebrated in all the countries every year. In 2011, the centenary of International Women’s Day was celebrated. This year, it will be 108th International Women’s Day.

Although it was celebrated everywhere, but it was only made official in 1975 when the United Nations recognised it as an annual event. The UN also started declaring an annual theme for the celebrations. As far as the current year is concerned, the theme for International Women’s Day is - “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.” 

The day is exclusively dedicated to all the sheroes of the society. It is to celebrate the contributions of women in our society. It also aims to create gender equality in the society. All the achievers from different fields are celebrated by people in different countries. Women are also encouraged to keep on doing the work for the welfare of the society. 

The International Women’s Day is celebrated in different manner in different countries in the world. There are many countries in the world which declared International Women’s Day as national holiday. It includes Russia where the day is celebrated with a lot of excitement. The sale of flowers doubles around 3-4 days around the International Women’s Day in Russia.

In China, the State Council has advised that a half-day off should be given to all the female employees. However, it is another thing that many employers do not follow it religiously. In Italy, people celebrate the day by gifting mimosa blossom. The US is another country where the day is celebrated with a lot of excitement. They honour women achievers on the day.

This year, the International Women’s Day is more important from the perspective that women from all many countries have spearheaded the #MeToo campaign on social media in the last 18 months. Women from all walks of life started to speak against the sexual harassments and assaults that they faced in their lives. It was very effective as many celebrities were found to be involved in sexual harassments and assaults against their female colleagues. It was very prevalent in the countries such as India, France, China and South Korea. 

The response to #MeToo campaign was unprecedented in India. People supported the women who levelled charges against celebrities. Actions were also taken against those found guilty of sexual harassments and assaults. Many had to resign from their posts following the charges against them.

TAGS: International Women’s Day / International Women’s Day 2019 / History of International Women’s Day / Significance of International Women’s Day / International Women’s Day theme