Celebrated worldwide, on 8th March every year, International Women’s Day holds significance as it is deemed to be a movement revolving around women’s rights. It is a global holiday sanctioned by the United Nations.
History of International Women’s Day
First celebrated as “National Women’s Day”, on February 28th 1909, organized by Socialist Party of America in New York City, it was a suggestion made by an activist, named, Theresa Malkiel.
In 1910, German delegates, Clara Zetkin, Käte Duncker, Paula Thiede and others, inspired by American socialists, proposed the idea of an annual “Women’s Day”, specifying no date.
The next year, 19th March was marked, for the first time, as International Women’s Day, by more than a million people in Austria, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland. While the Americans kept up with celebrating the National Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February. Women went on to demand the right to vote and to hold public office. They furthermore protested against employment sex discrimination.
In 1914, Germany celebrated the International Women’s Day on March 8th, reasonably because it was a Sunday, and thereafter, it is celebrated on March 8th every year in all the countries. The 1914, celebration in Germany was marked towards claiming the women’s right to vote, which German women did not win until 1918.
Until 1967, the day mainly remained a communist holiday, subsequently taken up by the second wave of feminism, and re-emerged as a day of activism. Women groups were joined and encouraged by the leftists and labor organizations, who together raised voice regarding equal pay, legal rights and economic opportunities, reproductive rights and the prevention of violence against women.
The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day in 1975, the International Women’s Year.
The twenty-first century created a shift from discussing social reforms to sharing feel-good messages, sponsored by various corporations, through the occasion of International Women’s Day.
A new page to IDW
In 2009, a “International Women’s Day” website was set up by Aurora Ventures, a British Marketing firm. Here is where the hashtags were created as themes to promote the idea, and the hashtags are now used widely, internationally all around.
Official theme for 2021 by the United Nations
The globally recognized official UN theme for International Women’s Day 2021 stands, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”
The theme acknowledges the effort that has been put forth by the girls and women around the world to help shape an equal future and recovery from COVID-19.
Women have contributed in exemplary ways in fighting the pandemic, COVID-19. They’ve been in places, working professionally as caretakers, community organizers, innovators and have stood at the border with an undeniable sense of strength. Women have been making irreplaceable contribution throughout the COVID-19 time-span, still curating and implementation schemes and policies as Head of the States, stabilizing the conditions better than anyone.
On the contrary, women have come to face increasing problems during the lockdown, that was implemented as a measure to curb the effect of COVID-19 pandemic. Across the world, women are facing increased domestic violence, unpaid care duties, unemployment and poverty, and a stand regarding the same needs to be taken.
To break-even the socio-economic, political barriers that stand in the way of providing the women of today a much justified, recognized and deserved place in all the spheres of life, this year’s theme speaks for itself and tends to reach every corner of the world, with no intentions of remaining unheard.
Therefore, to validate and justify women’s rights, UN brings forth the theme for the year: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”
Theme and Hashtags for International Women’s Day 2021
With an idea that from challenge comes change, the theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is Choose to Challenge, trending with the hashtags #ChooseToChallenge and #IWD2021. The theme surfaces the importance of bringing challenging biases and misconceptions to the fore, with a view to curate a gender-equal world. People are being called for and offered to voluntarily take up voice towards being the change by challenging, posting pictures of themselves with a hand raised high, showcasing solidarity and calling out gender bias and inequality. This International Women’s Day, what is needed, is support, strength and voice against the disruptive inequality prevailing throughout, so choose to challenge and be a part of the change. One can use #WomensDay on Twitter and Instagram. The hashtag has generated about 2.8 million posts on Instagram. Other hashtags pertaining to this year’s theme are thematic #ChooseToChallenge, the global #IWD2021, #InternationalWomensDay, and #SeeHer.