Women can do everything—literally! From giving birth, to running a business, women can do virtually anything they desire. And while this bares truth, women historically have had to fight for rights that men are automatically given. As such, large disparities have been created and the topic of gender equality has become an ongoing debate. As a starting point in a larger road to gender equity, there is International Women’s Day (IWD) to recognize and celebrate women and their contributions to the world.  

Who Started IWD & When? 

In 1908, a group of women in New York marched in solidarity, demanding shorter working hours, the right to vote and better pay. A couple of years later, at an International Conference of Working Women, Clara Zetkin suggested creating International Women’s Day. And in 1911, International Women’s Day was first celebrated. It wasn’t until 1975 that the United States began celebrating IWD. There was no fixed date for the holiday at first, but it is also celebrated worldwide as Women’s History Month. 

IWD Colors & Theme

The colors of IWD are purple, green and white. Purple represents justice and dignity, while green symbolizes hope. White signifies purity, (although that is a controversial concept). The color wheel was created in 1908 in the UK at the Women’s Social and Political Union. Each year International Women’s Day has a theme. This year it’s #BreakTheBias. Go check out the hashtag results on social media to see photos of this year’s celebration. 

To get involved, wear IWD colors the day of, or during the month of March. You can also strike the #BreakTheBias pose for social media to post & share. 

How to Support IWD 

International Women’s Day does not belong to any specific group, agency, or charity. Rather, it’s a collective effort in support of women and their rights. To show support, you can: 

  • Celebrate female achievement – acknowledge and thank the women in your life & community. Post pics on social media and use the hashtag #BreakTheBias. 
  • Raise awareness about women’s equality – have conversations about women’s rights and spread the word on injustices that women face. Check local calendars in your area for a list of events and check out the resources at the end of this article. 
  • Lobby for gender parity – go to your local government and ask questions and have conversations about women’s rights.  
  • Give back to women in your community – support female entrepreneurs. Send a thank-you card to the incredible women in your life to show them that they are indeed appreciated. We all need it sometimes. Women who empower other women are powerful.  

Although we now have the first female vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, and first female president of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu, the fight for women’s rights is evergreen. Today, women are still fighting against underrepresentation, wage gaps, sexual harassment and stereotypes, just to name just a few. In the spirit of breaking biases, we need to break away from any system that jeopardizes human rights and equality for all.

Here is a list of links to visit if you’re looking to partake in the ongoing movement & historical education behind IWD & Women’s History Month.