History of International Women's Day

 International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8. Previously, it was known as International Working Women’s Day. It is a global celebration where women are honoured for their past, present and future economic, political and social achievements. Some countries, including China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, even declare this acclaimed day as a national holiday. In some regions, it is believed to be an occasion for people to convey their love for women in ways that are similar to a combination of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. In other parts, however, it is known as a day to reminisce and instil political and social awareness of struggling women, whose life is still in tribulation, in a hopeful and optimistic manner. Some people commemorate the day by wearing a purple ribbon. 

   Each year holds a different theme that are set by the United Nations, specifically for this event. This year’s theme happen to be,“Empowering Women - Empowering Humanity: Picture It!”. It envisions a world where every woman can express her own opinions and make her own choices in all aspects of life, without having to face prejudice and bitter criticism. Nowadays, it is extremely difficult for ladies to voice out. Oppression is palpable and women are taken advantage of, especially in the African and Middle Eastern countries. Besides that, a recent study revealed that every single day, globally, 38,461 women and girls are being forced into an arranged marriage against their will. It is often linked to one trait, - greed. This is a way for the families to pay their debts and attain more money. What’s worse, the aforesaid number does not even include the total number of unbelievably young girls forced into prostitution on a daily basis. 

    In 1908, women oppression and inequality were at its peak. This has spurred women to be more vocal in campaigning for change. Later on that year, 15 000 women marched through New York City, demanding equal rights to men. Subsequently, International Women’s Day was used as a mechanism for protesting World War I. However, women in Russia chose to protest and strike for “Bread and Peace” during the 1917 war, which coincidentally fell on March 8. The Czar stepped down four days later, and the provisional government allowed women the right to vote. 

    The Charter of United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first global agreement to declare the principle of equality between men and women. Since then, the UN has helped to produce a historic legacy of internationally-agreed strategies, standards, programs and goals to elevate the status of women worldwide. Throughout the years, the UN and its technical agencies have promoted the involvement of women as equal associates with men in achieving sustainable development, peace, security and full respect for human rights. The empowerment of women continues to be a central feature of the UN’s effort to address social, economic and political struggles worldwide.
  As quoted by Mahatma Gandhi, “Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity... 
If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man's superior... 

If non-violence is the law of our being, the future is with women…”


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