Facts about International Women’s Day

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The International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8 and it is a day set aside to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women while highlighting the problems they face in day-to-day life as well as in the professional environment.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge. “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world on the way to the Generation Equality Forum”.  It indicates that a “challenged world is an alert world, and from challenge comes change”. It highlights how women can be equal partners in decision-making processes, especially those regarding policymaking.

It is also aligned with the priority theme of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, “Women in public life, equal participation in decision making“, and the flagship Generation Equality campaign, which calls for women’s right to decision-making in all areas of life, equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, an end all forms of violence against women and girls, and health-care services that respond to their needs.

Here are some facts about the day:

The International Women’s Day can be traced back to February 28, 1909, when the Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the garment workers’ strike in New York.

However, the first official celebrations of International Women’s Day happened in 1911, when women from several European countries (Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland) participated in demonstrations. More than a million women took to the streets to demand for the right to vote, and the right to hold public offices. Women also protested employment sex discrimination and equal pay.

Another important demonstration in Europe, dating to March 8, 1917, saw women textile workers in St Petersburg (formerly Petrograd) taking over the streets, which later on grew to become the Russian Revolution.

The day has been predominantly celebrated by communist countries and socialist movements until 1967, when the United Nations recognized the day and started celebrating it as the International Women’s Day we have come to know of today. Sign up for our exclusive newsletters.

The International Women’s Day in some countries, namely Bulgaria and Romania, the International Women’s Day is observed as equivalent to Mother’s Day.

According to the United Nations, only three countries in the world have 50 percent or more women in parliament. Women are Heads of State in only 22 nations.

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Globally, 119 countries have never had a woman leader as a Head of State. The UN adds that at the current rate of progress, gender parity will not be reached in parliaments before 2063. Be it as front-line and health sector workers, or scientists, doctors, and caregivers. However, recent data released by the United Nations reveal an alarming disparity.

These women frontline workers are getting paid 11 percent less than their male counterparts globally.

According to United Nations Development Programme, in 2021, around 435 million women and girls are living on less than $1.90 a day. Nearly 47 million women have been pushed to poverty because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also adds that women’s employment is at 19 percent more risk than men.

That’s not all, as per World Economic Forum, while women make up 70 percent of health sector workers, only 24.7 percent of health ministers are female.