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International Women’s Day: Everything you need to know

International Women’s Day: Everything you need to know

International Women’s Day is a worldwide event celebrating women’s achievements all across the globe, from political through to social.

Set to happen on March 8th, the celebration has been celebrated since the 1990s and is not associated with any specific group of organisation, it is simply a day in which women from organisations, charities and corporations can come together.

The day usually involves countless parades, rallies, performances, talks, events, marches and conferences and can last up to a week, despite being only based on one specific day.

Although the week in itself sounds appealing, how did it all begin?

Well, it is quite difficult to actually recognise when International Women’s became an event, but it’s roots can be traced back to 1908, when thousands of women marched through the streets of New York in order to demand equal pay rights to that of men.

A German woman in 1910, Clara Zetkin, leader of the women’s office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, suggested up the idea of a day for women, mentioning that every country should host a day for women in order to push for their demands, from equality through to representation and security.

So, International Women’s Day was born, with a conference of more than 100 women from 17 countries agreeing to Zetkin’s suggestion.

Despite being only recognised by the United Nations in 1975, International Women’s Day achieves recognition each year with a theme being created each time.

In 2011, former President of the United States, Barack Obama proclaimed March to be Women’s History Month.

We still celebrate International Women’s Day as a way to recognise what women have achieved in terms of political representation and human rights, alongside using the day to analyse what is still yet to be achieved.

International Women’s Day will also have a resounding effect this year as 2018 celebrates 100 years since the suffragettes achieved the vote for all women over the age of 30 with the introduction of the People’s Representation Act in 1918.

Before anybody panics, yes, there is an International Men’s Day, it takes place in 60 countries across the globe and happens each year on November 19th, looking into gender equality, men’s health and positive male role models.

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is ‘Professor Progress’, in a bid to highlight the awareness that has been raised concerning sexual violence and abuse towards women in the workplace, with twitter campaigns such as #timesup and #metoo bombarding social media platforms at the end of last year.

So, what’s going to happen on March 8th?

Well, in London there is going to be a march, welcoming men and women, down to Parliament Square. There is a also a free ticketed event which you can pop along to in order to hear speeches and rallies, as well as getting advice from women in business and world affairs.

There are also tickets for the Women of the World exhibition at the South Bank centre, once again, some talks, celebrations and performances for you to enjoy.

Every country around the world celebrates International Women’s Day differently, some countries chose to have rallies whilst others treat the day like mother’s day, giving women flowers and gifts. Nice.

Elizabeth Whittingham Elizabeth is a history graduate currently working in content and communications.