This March marks several exciting occasions such as Spring Break for students and March Madness for sports enthusiasts, but it also brings the 2019 International Women’s Day.
The first National Women’s Day occurred in New York City Feb. 28, 1909. Thousands showed up to various events and unified the suffragist cause. Leonora O’Reilly, a labor organizer, addressed the crowd at Murray Hill Lyceum with the message of their movement. On the same day, author Charlotte Perkins Gilman told the congregation of the Parkside Church in Brooklyn that a woman should not be limited to her household duties and “home should mean the whole country, and not be confined to three or four rooms or a city or a state.”
The concept of “Women’s Day” and the significance it held regarding women’s rights began to spread to Europe and eventually across the world. In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly recognized March 8 as International Women’s Day. The year 1975 itself was considered International Women’s Year.
In 2014, more than 100 countries celebrated International Women’s Day and more than 25 of those countries recognized it as an official holiday. The holiday evolved from a movement in New York to an international organization dedicated to celebrating and advocating for women’s rights.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “#BalanceforBetter.” The theme revolves around equal rights for men and women and the balance the original movement sought. The theme reflects that “balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue.”
Gloria Steinem, a world-renowned feminist, journalist
The International Women’s Day organization provides several ways to show support through physical and digital resources. The official website allows users to search for upcoming local events and marches where they can show their support. If there are no events in your area or you are unable to attend, you can still show your support by posting a photo striking the #BalanceforBetter pose or downloading a selfie card from their website and spreading the message that balanced gender rights work to better society.
To keep up with worldwide events on International Women’s Day follow the official Women’s Day Twitter account for updates.