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Celebrating Women’s Strength with the History of International Women’s Day

Update on: 06 Mar 2024, 12:40 PM

International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8th to commemorate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world. It also serves as a call to action for gender equality and women’s rights. The day has a rich history, dating back over a century, and has roots in many countries, including India.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2024

This year, the theme of International Women’s Day 2024 is “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.”

Investing in women is crucial for advancing gender equality and creating a more prosperous future. By providing women with resources, support, and opportunities in areas like education, employment, healthcare, and leadership, we can unlock their full potential and promote inclusivity. Addressing barriers and challenges that women face is essential for realizing their rights and goals. Through collective action and investments in women, we can build a more equitable and just society where everyone can thrive.

Womens Day Theme
Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress

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History of International Women’s Day

The history of International Women’s Day dates back to the early 20th century, a time when women were fighting for their rights in the workplace, in politics, and society at large. The first Women’s Day was celebrated in the United States on February 28, 1909, in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York City.

Womens trade union league
Women’s Trade Union League of New York

The following year, in 1910, the International Women’s Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, proposed establishing an International Women’s Day to advocate for women’s suffrage, women’s rights, and gender equality.

International Women’s Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark
International Women’s Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark

The first International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 19, 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, with rallies and demonstrations calling for women’s rights and suffrage. However, it wasn’t until March 8, 1917, that International Women’s Day began to be recognized as a global movement. On this day, Russian women took to the streets to protest World War I and demand “bread and peace.” Their peaceful demonstration led to the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the recognition of women’s right to vote in Russia.

Russian women took to the streets to protest World War
Russian women took to the streets to protest World War

Over the years, International Women’s Day has become an important day of celebration and advocacy for women around the world. It is a day to recognize and honour women’s achievements, as well as to raise awareness about the ongoing challenges women face in their quest for equality and empowerment.

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International Women’s Day History in India

In India, International Women’s Day is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour. The day holds special significance in a country where women have historically faced discrimination and violence. In recent years, Indian women have made great strides in various fields, including politics, business, science, and the arts. However, there is still a long way to go in achieving gender equality and ensuring that women have equal rights and opportunities.

Indian women in the independence movement
Indian women in the independence movement

In India, the history of International Women’s Day is closely intertwined with the country’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule. Many Indian women played a significant role in the independence movement, fighting alongside men for freedom and rights. One of the first women to lead the charge for women’s rights in India was Sarojini Naidu, a poet and activist who fought for women’s suffrage and social justice.

Sarojini naidu

In 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution and the first International Women’s Day, women in India began to organize for their rights and empowerment. The All-India Women’s Conference, founded in 1927, became an important platform for Indian women to advocate for social reforms, education, and political rights. Over the years, Indian women have made significant progress in various fields, breaking barriers and shattering stereotypes.

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Today, International Women’s Day in India is celebrated with events, rallies, seminars, and cultural programs that highlight the achievements and challenges faced by Indian women. The day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and to advocate for gender equality, empowerment, and rights. It is also a day to reflect on the progress made and the work that still needs to be done to ensure a more equitable and just society for all.

womens day

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, let us remember the courage and resilience of women who have fought for their rights and the rights of others. Let us honour the achievements of women around the world and recommit ourselves to the cause of gender equality and justice. In India and beyond, let us work together to create a more just and equitable world for all. Happy International Women’s Day!

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