International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on March 8th.
The day has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911.
The day is not country, group or organization specific - and belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.
Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."
So make International Women's Day your day and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women.
What is International Women's Day?
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women's network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women's Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others. International Women's Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity.
International Women's Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action - whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women's Day has been occurring for well over a century - and continue's to grow from strength to strength. Learn about the values that guide IWD's ethos.
What colours signify International Women's Day?
Internationally, purple is a colour for symbolising women. Historically the combination of purple, green and white to symbolise women's equality originated from the Women's Social and Political Union in the UK in 1908. Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolises hope. White represents purity, but is no longer used due to 'purity' being a controversial concept.
What's the history of IWD?
International Women's Day (IWD) has been observed since the early 1900's - a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.
Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women's oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman's Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women's clubs - and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament - greeted Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women's Day was the result.
Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women's Day was honoured the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic 'Triangle Fire' in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women's Day events. 1911 also saw women's Bread and Roses' campaign.
On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women's Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since. In 1914 further women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women's solidarity. For example, in London in the United Kingdom there was a march from Bow to Trafalgar Square in support of women's suffrage on 8 March 1914. Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested in front of Charing Cross station on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square.
On the last Sunday of February, Russian women began a strike for "bread and peace" in response to the death of over 2 million Russian soldiers in World War 1. Opposed by political leaders, the women continued to strike until four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. The date the women's strike commenced was Sunday 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was 8 March.
International Women's Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975. Then in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.
The UN commenced the adoption of an annual theme in 1996 - which was "Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future". This theme was followed in 1997 with "Women at the Peace table", and in 1998 with "Women and Human Rights", and in 1999 with "World Free of Violence Against Women", and so on each year until the current. More recent themes have included, for example, "Empower Rural Women, End Poverty & Hunger" and "A Promise is a Promise - Time for Action to End Violence Against Women".
By the new millennium, there was little activity occurring for International Women's Day in most countries. The world had moved on and, in many spheres, feminism wasn't a popular topic. Something was needed to re-ignite International Women's Day giving it the respect it deserves and to raise awareness amongst the masses. There was urgent work to do - battles had not been won and gender parity still had not been achieved.
The internationalwomensday.com platform was launched with the specific purpose of re-energizing the day - a focus which continues to this day - celebrating and making visible the achievements of women while continuing the call for accelerating gender parity. The website, which provides useful guidance and resources, adopts an annual campaign theme that is globally relevant for groups and organizations. The campaign theme, one of many around the world, provides a framework and direction for annual IWD activity and takes into account the wider agenda of both celebration as well as the call to action for gender parity. Over more recent years, some of the campaign themes have included: #EachforEqual, #BalanceforBetter, #PressforProgress, #BeBoldforChange, #PledgeforParity, #MakeItHappen, #TheGenderAgenda and more. Campaign themes for the global IWD website are collaboratively developed each year with a range of stakeholders and widely adopted worldwide. IWD fundraising is directed towards the website's Charity of Choice, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) since 2007 and Catalyst Inc., the global working women's organization, since 2016 - who receive 100% of any donations.
2011 saw the 100 year centenary of International Women's Day - with the first IWD event held exactly 100 years ago in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In the United States, President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2011 to be "Women's History Month", calling Americans to mark IWD by reflecting on "the extraordinary accomplishments of women" in shaping the country's history. The then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the "100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through International Exchanges". In the United Kingdom, celebrity activist Annie Lennox lead a superb march across one of London's iconic bridges raising awareness in support for global charity Women for Women International. Further charities such as Oxfam have run extensive activity supporting IWD and many celebrities and business leaders also actively support the day
2020 and beyond
The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation may feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so each year the world inspires women and celebrates their achievements. IWD is an official holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more. Many global corporations actively support IWD by running their own events and campaigns. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google often changes its Google Doodle on its global search pages to honor IWD. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status.
Vietnamese Women's Day
Aside from the International Women’s Day on March 8th, Vietnam also celebrates its National Women’s Day on October 20th. It’s among several occasions on which the society shows their love and respect to the women; it could be their mothers, sisters, aunts or just their friends. It’s the day for everyone to grandly celebrate and cherish the women in their life and remember all the sacrifices women have made.
Upon the holiday’s origin and how it came to be, we have to look back at history, specifically on October 20th, 1930. Back then, the Women’s Vietnam against imperialism (now renamed as The Vietnam Women’s Union) was officially established, to market the event, the Communist Party of Vietnam later on decided that the October 20th each year as the traditional day of this organization as well as the day when women all around Vietnam are celebrated and honored.
Vietnamese women are strong and everyone knows it. During the war, the role of women are as equal as men; they fought, they built and they sacrificed; up until now, that also doesn’t change. When we think of women; most will think of patience, endurance, persistence and loyal as women’s best traits; however, today modern Vietnamese women are also strong, intelligent, brave and very clever. They’re like tigers, which are fierce, independent, protective but graceful in everything they do. Women take up great positions in Vietnamese society; they balance work and home with their life partner in the best ways possible.
With that in mind, on October 20th, several activities will take place throughout the country to honor the role of Vietnamese Women. Some activities are more noticed to be quite special, and those activities are not limited in families only but their workplaces and the society. Agencies and companies held awards and ceremony for outstanding women’s achievement and women in general. Society praises on women’s sacrifices and contributions for the country’s development. The day is entirely about women!
Also, cultural programs are being held in public places for everyone to join hand and show respect to the women in their life. There are artistic performances from performers with the themes and topics of Vietnamese’s women. Women are treated with respects and some department stores or supermarkets get discount especially for women, much to the ladies’ excitement. Even the on national channels are broadcasting documents and news and segments about women to honoring them.
On this day, the most common gifts that a woman will receive are flowers and a lot of love from their beloved ones, some families will gather around to have dinner with the attention of women are the best, some even go out all night to make their loved women feel the most special. The night is young and the excitement is going up, Vietnam’s Women day is nothing but a day to be celebrated.
Tiger Tour is no exception. To join in with the country’s spirit, we also have discount (10%) especially for female guests who will book the tours in Ho Chi Minh City on 20th October to celebrate Vietnam Women’s Day.
Source: internationalwomensday, mytigertour