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International Women's Day: six things you need to know about March 8

International Women's Day: six things you need to know about March 8

Mar 8th 2023

You've probably heard about International Women's Day. But why is it celebrated, and why precisely on March 8? Is it more of a celebration or a protest? Is there an International Men's Day? And what kind of events will be held this week?

For over a century, people worldwide have celebrated March 8 as a special day for women.

1. How did it all begin?

International Women's Day originated from the labor movement and was recognized by the United Nations as an annual event. The seeds of its creation were sown in 1908 when 15,000 women walked through New York demanding shorter working hours, better pay, and the right to vote. A year later, the Socialist Party of America proclaimed the first National Women's Day.

The idea to establish an international holiday came from a woman named Klara Cetkin, who proposed it in 1910 at the International Women's Conference in Copenhagen. Clara's original idea did not include a fixed date. The conference was attended by 100 women from 17 countries, and they unanimously accepted the proposal.

On the international level, Women's Day was celebrated for the first time in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. The centenary of the celebration was celebrated in 2011, so this year, we are practically celebrating the 112th International Women's Day.

Everything was made official when the United Nations started celebrating this Day. The first slogan adopted by the United Nations in 1996 was "Celebrating the past, planning the future."

International Women's Day has become an occasion to celebrate women's achievements in society, politics, and the economy. The political roots of the Day mean that strikes and protests are organized to highlight the still-present inequality.

2. When is Women's Day held?

Women's Day is celebrated on March 8. That date was chosen after a strike organized during the First World War in 1917 when Russian women demanded "bread and peace." After four days, the emperor ( Tsar Nicholas II) was forced to abdicate, and the provisional government granted women the right to vote. The date the women's strike took place, according to the Julian calendar, which was then used in Russia, was February 23, Sunday. This date was March 8 in the Gregorian calendar and is still celebrated today.

3. What colors symbolize Women's Day?

International Women's Day colors are purple, green, and white. "Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity, although it is a controversial concept. These colors originated in the Women's Social and Political Union in Great Britain," says the International Women's Day campaign.

4. Is there an International Men's Day?

He really does exist on November 19. But it has only been celebrated since the nineties of the last century and is not recognized by the United Nations. People celebrate it in more than 80 countries, including Great Britain. The Day celebrates "the positive values that men contribute to this world, their families and communities," highlighting positive role models and pointing to the well-being of men. 

5. How is Women's Day celebrated this year?

International Women's Day is a national holiday in many countries, including southeastern Europe, where flower sales double for three or four days around March 8. In China, on March 8, many women get half a day off from work, as recommended by the State Council, although many employers do not allow female workers on that Day. International Women's Day, or Festa della Donna, is celebrated in Italy by giving away mimosa buds. This tradition's origin is still being determined, but it is believed to have started in Rome after the Second World War. In America, the month of March is Women's History Month.

A presidential proclamation issued each year celebrates the achievements of American women. 

Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, we wish you to enjoy this Day and the imminent arrival of spring.