Countries all across the world celebrate International Women’s Day every year on 8 March to pay respect and appreciation of female achievements across politics, economics and of course, everyday accomplishments. The theme for 2014 is ‘Equality for Women is Progress for All’.
What started as a political statement in the United States in 1908 has evolved to become a general day to appreciate the women in your life – a little like a cross between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day!
In both Britain and the USA in the early 1900s women were becoming more vocal about their working rights – demanding better pay and equal voting rights with men. In 1908 Chicago held the first observance, whilst in New York City some 15,000 marched in protest. The Unites States adopted National Woman’s Day and was first held on 28 February 1909 and other locations across the world soon followed suit.
The day of recognition went global and in 1975 the United nations declared 8 March as International Women’s Day and in many countries, including China (women only), Cuba, Uganda, Vietnam and several other countries, the day is taken as a national holiday. Traditionally men bestow small gifts of chocolates or flowers on their female relatives, wives, girlfriends and even colleagues. The official site has more details on the history of IWD.
International Women’s Day in London
Events are held all over the world with readings, screenings and exhibitions all popular. In London art and music based events are prominent; with a Million Women Rise march taking place. The Southbank Centre will celebrate females via comedy, music and art at its Women of the World Festival (to 9 March 2014). Today the New Cavendish Club explores women’s roles in World War I, as part of its centenary program, with the Women of the Great War event.
And BBC Radio 1 will run a special all-female lineup to mark the day, with a 39 hour radio takeover.