About International Women's Day
International Women's Day (IWD) 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. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality.
Marked annually on March 8th, IWD is one of the most important days of the year to:
- celebrate women's achievements
- educate and awareness raise for women's equality
- call for positive change advancing women
- lobby for accelerated gender parity
- fundraise for female-focused charities
Everyone, everywhere can play a part in helping forge gender equality. From a wide range of IWD campaigns, events, rallies, lobbying and performances - to festivals, parties, fun runs and celebrations - all IWD activity is valid. That's what makes IWD inclusive.
What's the IWD 2023 campaign theme?
For IWD 2023, the global campaign theme is #EmbraceEquity.
The campaign aims to encourage important conversations on Why equal opportunities aren't enough and Why equal isn't always fair. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.
We can all challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion. Collective activism is what drives change. From grassroots action to wide-scale momentum, we can all embrace equity.
And to truly embrace equity, means to deeply believe, value, and seek out difference as a necessary and positive element of life. To embrace equity means to understand the journey required to achieve women's equality.
Learn about the campaign theme here, and consider the difference between equity and equality.
Who can support International Women's Day?
There are many ways to mark IWD.
IWD is not country, group, nor organization specific. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women's network, or media hub is solely responsible for IWD. The day belongs to all groups collectively, everywhere. Read more about this here.
Support for IWD should never be a battle between groups or organizations declaring what action is best or right. Feminism's eclectic and inclusive nature means that all efforts advancing women's equality are welcome and valid, and should be respected. This is what it means to be truly 'inclusive.'
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.
How can groups mark International Women's Day?
IWD was started in 1911, and remains an important moment for working to advance women's equality with the day belonging to everyone, everywhere.
Groups can choose to mark IWD in whatever manner they deem most relevant, engaging, and impactful for their specific context, objectives, and audiences.
IWD is about women's equality in all its forms. For some, IWD is about fighting for women's rights. For others, IWD is about reinforcing key commitments, while for some IWD is about celebrating success. And for others, IWD means festive gatherings and parties. Whatever choices are made, all choices matter, and all choices are valid. All choices of activity can contribute to, and form part of, the thriving global movement focused on women's advancement.
IWD is a truly inclusive, diverse and eclectic moment of impact worldwide.
What's the history of International Women's Day?
International Women's Day has occurred for well over a century with the first gathering held in 1911.
Learn more about IWD's timeline from its historic commencement, right through to March 2023.
What colors symbolize International Women's Day?
Purple, green and white are the colors of International Women's Day. Purple signifies justice and dignity, and being loyal to the cause. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity, albeit a controversial concept. The colors originated from the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908.
Is International Women's Day a holiday?
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. In Germany, Berlin's parliament approved a bill in 2019 to make International Women's Day a public holiday.
Should IWD be a global holiday? Many groups absolutely think not. IWD is a day of activism. IWD provides a highly considerable and visible opportunity for impact.
What's does the IWD website aim to achieve?
The purpose of the International Women's Day website is to support the supporters, and to encourage worldwide engagement and collective action in advancing women's equality. In doing so, the IWD website provides a useful and collaborative platform that aims to help forge positive change for women worldwide.
Everyone everywhere can help forge women's equality. Collective action and collaborative support for forging women's equality matters, and all groups should be welcome to advance women's equality by whatever appropriate means they choose.
Whether hosting an event, running a campaign, launching an initiative, reporting on achievement, donating to a female-focused charity, or more - there are many ways groups and individuals can mark International Women's Day.
Three central beliefs underpin and guide the purpose and provisions of the International Women's Day website:
- identifying, celebrating, and increasing visibility of women's achievements can help forge equality
- strategic collaborations based on a foundation of shared purpose, trust, and appreciation can impact positive change for women
- worldwide awareness raising via meaningful narratives, resources, and activity can help combat gender bias and discrimination to accelerate gender parity
To support worldwide activity, the International Women's Day website provides:
- free guidance and resources
- a searchable IWD events database
- a platform for collaborative purpose-driven missions
- a hub showcasing the work of women creatives
- a speakers register for IWD event managers
- a women-owned business IWD supplier directory
- a fundraising channel for female-focused charities (100% direct to charity)
Do we still need an International Women's Day?
Yes! There's no place for complacency. According to the World Economic Forum, sadly none of us will see gender parity in our lifetime, and nor likely will many of our children. Gender parity won't be attained for well over a century.
There's urgent work to do - and we can all play a part.