International Women’s Day is just a couple of days away, but before women everywhere put on their purple to show their support March 8, here are three things you should know about its history and this year’s theme #pressforprogress.
How It Came to Be
International Women’s Day, which celebrates the achievements of women globally and calls for gender equality, is nothing new. Observed since the 1900s, it reportedly started in 1909 as National Woman's Day, thanks to the Socialist Party of America, which “designated this day in honor of the 1908 garment workers' strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions,” according to the UN. At the time, it was observed on February 28.
In 1910, The Socialist International met in Copenhagen and established a Women’s Day, which honored the women’s rights movement, and built support for voting rights for women. Following that meeting, which was attended by women from all over the world, International Women's Day was marked for the first time on March 19 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911. Women went on to hold rallies in 1914 on March 8 to protest World War 1 and stand in solidarity with other activists.
Why Wear Purple?
Internationally, purple is a color that symbolizes women. The combination of purple and green to symbolize women's equality originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union in the UK in 1908, according to International Women’s Day. Purple signifies justice and dignity and green symbolizes hope.
This Year’s Theme
It’s none other than #pressforprogress — a push for gender parity nationwide.
To find out how you can celebrate at International Women’s Day events, rallies, panel discussions, and more, visit the International Women’s Day Events Page.