Everything You Need to Know About International Women's Day on March 8
International Women’s Day is just a couple of days away, but before women everywhere put on their purple to show their support on March 8, here are three things you should know about its history and this year’s theme #BalanceforBetter.
How International Women's Day 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, 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.
VIDEO: International Women's Day Celebrations Around the World
This Year’s Theme
It’s none other than #BalanceforBetter — a push for "a gender-balanced world." Organizers maintain that through collective action, balance can be achieved in the workplace, in the media, and at home. The website notes that, "gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive."
Get involved in the movement by attending local events and encouraging friends and social media followers to join in with a photo of yourself in the #BalanceforBetter pose. Simply by posting a photo with your hands out, you can share a call-to-action and encourage other people to join in. Use the #BalanceforBetter and #IWD2019 hashtags to find like-minded participants.