The annual celebration of International Women's Day is not without controversy. While most view it as an uplifting holiday, some see it as a divisive and even insulting celebration.

The annual celebration of International Women’s Day is not without controversy. While most view it as an uplifting holiday, some see it as a divisive and even insulting celebration.

What is International Woman’s Day?

Each year, on March 8th, International Women’s day is celebrated with parades, parties and theatre shows. In some cultures, it is treated similar to Mother’s Day; with the exchange of gifts and flowers. Through all these diverse ways, we aim to celebrate and empower women.

Photo: Lindsey LaMont on Unsplash

Why do we need International Woman’s Day?

International Women’s Day is not something new, but it has grown in popularity in the last few years. Some would say this is thanks to social media.

It was first recognised in 1975 by the United Nations, but its roots go further back and are much deeper. The first honorary International Women’s Day occurred in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. This came to be because of a conference for working women and took place in 1910. Clara Zetkin, an influential German Marxist, communist and women’s rights activist, suggested that on that day, a celebration of women should take place annually in every country. This day would be used to front the issues of women, which became clear the following year.

Over 1 million men and women engaged in different rallies all calling for women’s right to vote, work and to put an end to discrimination. International Women’s Day was born and has since grown massively. Every year, this celebration has become globalised. Now over 100 countries participate in the event.

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It’s 2020, surely we don’t still need International Women’s Day?

The simple answer is yes, we do.

Celebrating the progress while acknowledging there is still a way to go are two key reasons why it is still needed. Women have come very far in the last 100 years. Our ancestors fought incredibly hard for the rights many of us take for granted today, so their efforts should be celebrated.

Unfortunately, the fight is not over. Compared to men, women are less educated, have worse healthcare and are significantly more likely to suffer violence. Women are still not represented equally in politics and business and are, on average, paid less than men. These circumstances are some of the many reasons people are passionate about fighting for the cause.

So, this International Women’s Day, enjoy it and have fun. Take part in the various events happening around the world or engage with it on social media. However, understand that this day is a landmark to show how far women have come, and how long we still have to go.