International Women's Day

International Women's Day - Saturday, March 8, 2025

Cause Awareness Careers Women

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the historical, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also is a day of action in support of taking action against gender inequality around the world. We all know the world couldn’t run without women (we mean, just listen to Beyoncé). This is the day to appreciate their efforts! Organizations large and small come together to show women just how valuable they are in today’s society..


Mother, sisters, wives, girlfriends, and fiancees…what would we ever do without them? Nobody can honestly say we don’t owe an enormous amount to the women in our lives, from the mothers who made us chicken soup when we were sick as children, to the sisters who helped us decide what to wear on our first date, to the wives who somehow manage to juggle both a career and a family, never missing a beat. Women’s Day is all about celebrating these incredible people and showing them how much we love, respect and value them.

This holiday is perhaps especially important in parts of the world where women are still forced to deal with shocking inequality on a daily basis and is meant to raise awareness of the challenges and struggles faced by these women. Women’s Day celebrates women’s history, highlighting key events, milestones, and achievements, and aims to further promote and raise awareness of women’s rights and to achieve equal opportunity status in all walks of life. 

History of Women’s Day

 It may come as a rather sad surprise that Women’s Day was first celebrated on February 28th, 1909 in New York. Two years later, German socialist Luise Zietz proposed that the holiday become an annually observed one that would celebrate various women’s issues, such as suffrage, so as to promote equal rights for women. The first few Women’s Days were celebrated in a quite different fashion than they are nowadays, with hundreds of demonstrations taking place in Europe. During these demonstrations, women demanded they finally be given both the right to vote and to hold public office.

Employment sex discrimination was also an important issue. In 1917, the Women’s Day demonstrations in Saint Petersburg, Russia, helped initiate the February Revolution, when women marched through the city demanding an end to World War I. This shocked even Leon Trotsky, who, much like other Russian leaders of the day, did not expect the Women’s Day protests to cause that much of a stir. Until 1977, Women’s Day was celebrated mainly in socialist countries. It was only after the United Nations General Assembly’s decision to proclaim March 8th International Women’s Day that the holiday gained worldwide popularity. 

How to celebrate Women’s Day 

There are many ways that you can go about celebrating this holiday, but all of them have a similar goal: to raise awareness about the struggles of women the world over and honor their achievements. Of course, not all achievements are huge, worldwide game-changers like women finally obtaining the right to vote—there are all sorts of other, smaller feats that women you know manage on an everyday basis that you may not pay too much attention to until you try calming 2 crying toddlers, making dinner and explaining the particulars of a newly-acquired client to your boss over the phone at the same time. This may sound ridiculously hard to pull off, but this is something thousands of women pull off every day, something that should be deeply appreciated and something that nobody should take for granted. Grand gestures aren’t necessarily required to show appreciation, either—sometimes a simple “thank you, I have no idea how you do it” is enough to lift an overworked woman’s spirits.

Women’s Day Is Also About Women’s Rights

If you’d like to do something more, though, there is a virtually endless amount of things you can do to help improve women’s lives the world. You can attend one of the 1000+ events organized globally where you can learn about what women’s lives are like in different countries and make a donation to the event you attend. Reading books is also a great way of broadening your horizons, and biographies of women like fearless Somalian women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali will definitely open your eyes and inspire you to see women’s lives and problems completely differently.

It’s no secret that women’s rights have evolved greatly. However, things could still be a lot better! People such as Malala Yousafzai, a young activist for female education in Pakistan. Her story, I am Malala, describes her fight for education as a woman in Pakistan, and the dramatic consequences of her activism. Targeted by a Taliban’s assassination, Malala was shot in 2012. She was transported to different hospitals before being rushed to the UK, where she was treated and survived her injuries. Her autobiography is an eye-opening shockwave that will make you aware of the struggles that many women continue to face. Nowadays, Malala is a student at the world famous University of Oxford in the UK! 

Broadening your horizon on Women’s Day to understand the differences between countries and how women are treated in the world can offer a new appreciation for women. Let Malala’s story inspire you to attend events or support more initiatives to help women. Why not keep your eyes open for books like Malala’s autobiography that share the experience of women in different cultures? 

Supporting a Woman on Women’s Day

Have you ever stopped to consider what it means to be a woman? Aside from the biological definition, there is a lot that goes into defining, feeling, experiencing and celebrating womanhood on Women’s Day. No, it doesn’t have to be a philosophical debate about what makes a woman who she is! But in a day and age where gender issues and gender roles are being questioned, it’s only fair to broaden your perception of what a woman can be and do. The first and most important thing you need to remember is that women are sick of hearing about gender stereotypes. Therefore, Women’s Day is a day to be embraced with an open mind. Question your assumptions about what people can and can’t do based on gender. Why not support a female friend to follow her dreams? 

Spend Women’s Day With Women Who Don’t Let Conventions Define Them

What makes her a woman? Women, such as Anne Lister, have chosen to define their womanhood on their own terms. During the 19th century in England, Anne Lister, also nicknamed Gentleman Jack, took part in activities that were otherwise reserved to men and also ran typically men’s businesses. She also chose to marry another woman, and lived with her, despite not receiving any legal recognition. Gentleman Jack cultivated her free spirit without compromising, which her autobiography, Gentleman Jack, reveals. 

Another autobiography that enhances the definition of being a woman is Trans, a Memoir, by Juliet Jacques. Jacques describes what it means to be a woman throughout the transitioning process. On Women’s Day, show your full support by celebrating and embracing different perceptions of what it means to be a woman. 

Spend A Day In Her Shoes On Women’s Day 

Challenges exist in different shapes. It’s something Nicole Byers, the bubbly “Nailed It” presenter on Netflix knows well. Her podcast, Why Won’t You Date Me, describes with humor her quest for love and the modern expectations that society has for women. The sweet dreams of childhood are nothing like the harsh reality, like the podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You explains. Spend the day listening to the stories of everyday women, who could be your sister, your mother, or your wife. 

History of International Women's Day

Susan B. Anthony was a political activist and an advocate of women’s rights. After the Civil War, she fought for the Fourteenth Amendment that was meant to grant all naturalized and native-born Americans citizenship in the hope that it would include suffrage rights. Although the fourteenth amendment was ratified in 1868, it still didn’t secure their vote. In 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was founded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Anthony to continue the fight for women’s rights.

In the early 1900s, women were experiencing pay inequality, a lack of voting rights, and they were being overworked. In response to all of this 15,000 women marched in through New York City in 1908 to demand their rights. In 1909, the first National Women’s Day was observed in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. This was celebrated on the last Sunday of February until 1913.

An International Women’s Conference was organized in August 1910, by Clara Zetkin, a German suffragist and leader in the Women’s Office. Zetkin proposed a special Women’s Day to be organized annually and International Women’s Day was honored the following year in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, with more than one million attending the rallies. On August 18, 1920, the nineteenth amendment was ratified and white women were granted the right to vote in the US.

The liberation movement took place in the 1960s and the effort led to the passage of the Votings Rights Act, allowing all women the right to vote. When the internet became more commonplace, feminism and the fight against gender inequality experienced a resurgence. Now we celebrate International Women’s Day each year as we push continuously with the hope of creating a completely equal society.

International Women's Day timeline


New Age Feminism

With the age of the internet rising, the message of feminism becomes unified with a focused direction.


All Women Can Vote

The Women’s Liberation movement fights for politics, work, the family, and sexuality and all women are given the right to vote.


A Day for Women

Clara Zetkin proposes a Women's Day celebration, and International Women's Day is celebrated annually from this point forth.


The NWSA Forms

The National Women’s Suffrage Association was founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to advocate for women's rights.

International Women's Day FAQs

Is International Women’s Day an official holiday?

International Women’s Day is an official holiday in dozens of countries.

Is International Women’s Day always on daylight’s saving time?

March 8 is daylight’s saving time in various Northern Hemisphere territories, so it aligns with International Women’s Day for them.

Do women live longer than men?

Women generally live longer than men by six to eight years due to biological and behavioral advantages.

Five Facts About International Women’s Day

  1. Recognized by the U.N.

    In 1975 the United Nations officially adopted International Women's Day.

  2. A day for mothers

    Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, and Uzbekistan celebrate International Women’s Day and Mother's Day together.

  3. Theme change

    Each year International Women's Day has a theme and for 2020 it was "An equal world is an enabled world."

  4. Wage gap

    In 2015 the UN reported that women still earn an average of 24 percent less than men do worldwide.

  5. Women are in session

    In Algeria, women make up 70% of the country's lawyers and 60% of its judges.

International Women's Day Activities

  1. Get involved

    There's an International Women’s Day event in nearly every major city and you can pick and choose what attracts you most. There are concerts where you can listen to live music, art exhibitions where talented creators display their work, and networking summits where you can hear guest speakers discuss women’s rights.

  2. Do like they do in the rest of the world

    Send a bouquet, thank you card, or some small gift to your mother, sister or co-worker. It’s guaranteed to brighten their day, give you a boost in their eyes, and help commemorate a wonderful day.

  3. Learn more about a woman you admire

    We all have our favorite musicians, actresses, and historical figures, but have you taken the time to truly know their story? Do some digging and learn about what their life was like. Chances are they’ve been through their fair share of trials and tribulations you’ll be inspired by their perseverance.

Why We Love International Women's Day

  1. It’s international and inter-organizational

    No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network, or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day was established and has been celebrated for a long time! As Gloria Steinem says, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” We agree! The day is all about intersectionality, whether that's the organizations that support International Women’s Day or the type of women the day celebrates.

  2. It’s a global holiday

    International Women’s Day is an official holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia. The tradition sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, and more with flowers and small gifts. There might be cultural differences between countries, but the appreciation of women and their accomplishments transcends all boundaries.

  3. It raises awareness around the world

    It may seem that we have progressed very far by 2016. Some progress has been made, yes. However, a recent study of 145 nations showed that there's still a gender gap. Iceland has come closest to equality in economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment, and that's definitely a start. But in other places like Yemen, women are only considered half a witness in court cases. They're even forbidden to leave the house without their husband’s permission. IWF was created to strive toward a standard of gender equality for all countries. Because, as we all know, raising awareness about women’s plight around the world helps elevate all women.

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