March 8, 2018 is International Women’s Day (IWD). Although the day has become more meaningful for we American women recently due to #MeToo, #TimesUp and the Women’s March, I was surprised to learn that this special day has been going on for over a century. The first official day started with a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to that day, the Socialist Party of America, the Suffragists and Suffragettes of the United Kingdom and other groups campaigned for women equality without a special day.
The International Women’s Day organization is using the campaign theme #PressforProgress. They cite the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, as their motivation to “press for progress,” which says it will take more than 200 years to reach gender parity. Building on the momentum already fueled by the recent movements, however, women are making positive gains across the world. I doubt that most of us want to wait for 200 years.
The UN Women is using the theme “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives” for IWD. They feel the day is an opportunity “to empower women in all settings, rural and urban….” (UNWomen).
Personally, I feel it is a day to recognize, honor and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all over the world. It’s a struggle, but we’re getting there.
There are many events being planned throughout America in response to IWD. The momentum from 2017 seems to be growing and rallies seem to be getting bigger and more plentiful. Thanks to social media, we have many hashtag movements focusing on women’s rights and other issues dear to our hearts.
However you decide to celebrate IWD, have a meaningful and fulfilling March 8th! Looks like 2018 is going to be a very interesting year!