The 8th March is tomorrow and whether you’re aware or not, is the celebration of
the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – International Women’s Day.
International Women's Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD being in 1911, held by men and women in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this of course, the Socialist Party of America, the UK's Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups also campaigned for women's equality.
It was in 1975 that that the United Nations first called for the mark of March 8th to be dedicated to women, celebrating women and world peace. Two years later, the General Assembly – the main policymaking and representative organ of the UN, that is also the only one in which all members have equal say, called for the adoption of the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year.
Now, over 100 years since the first IWD was initialised, we have witnessed a significant change in regard to gender equality and women’s rights, however there is still some way to go. Yes, there may be female prime ministers, female firefighters and females able to excel in a historically male-orientated working environment, but the progress of most of these situations are tainted by glass ceilings, unequal pay and stereotypical archaic behaviour. That being said, IWD is a chance to celebrate and respect the women in our lives, as well as remembering those who have suffered and fought for the rights that we, as women, have today. So why not throw a little party or attend an event this Friday?
Even if you’ve got nothing planned, wearing the colour purple is an effective but subtle way of showing your appreciation for women, being the signature colour for symbolising IWD and women. Historically the colour combination of purple, white and green symbolises women's equality and their fight. Purple signifies justice and dignity, white meaning purity (although no longer used sue to the controversial topic of what ‘purity’ means in this day and age) and green has connotations of hope. Together, the mixture of colours are the perfect addition to the IWD ethos.
The day is based off unity, reflection and celebration, encouraging and inspiring action and support – allowing us to continue to push boundaries within our political and social sphere, whether it be on a global or local stage.