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International Women's Day: A Celebration of Equality
On Sunday, March 8, 2015, people around the globe will celebrate International Women's Day. Since 1911, Women's Day has been a celebration of the advancements towards equality made by women, and some men, both in the past as well as today.
Over century ago, women known as 'suffragettes' campaigned for the right to vote in many democratic countries. During the turn of the century, not only were women not allowed to vote, but there was very little opportunity for women to work high-end jobs, or pursue higher education. It was almost unheard-of for a woman to be paid the same salary as a man, even if she worked the same job for the same hours. Women were expected to be mothers and homemakers, seen and not heard. Fortunately for women today, many independent-minded ladies felt that their voices should be heard, and made it clear to society as well as the government that women deserve equal treatment to men.
In 1909, American suffragettes began a National Women's Day to bring awareness and support to their cause, and all across the nation, people began to stand up for women's rights. A year later the success of National Women's Day caught the attention of, the leader of the Women's Office of the Social Democratic Party in Germany, a woman named Clara Zetkin. Zetkin liked the idea of a day celebrating the achievements of women, and suggested making the holiday international.
In a conference meeting of over 100 women, representing unions, social organizations, and 17 different counties, it was decided that International Women's Day would be celebrated around the globe.
Women Continue to Make History
Since then, much has been done to advance the status of women in many nations. While it was originally meant to bring awareness to women's campaign for voting rights, IWD has brought attention to a number of women's issues throughout its time. During WWI and WWII, Women's day became a tribute to the women at home, working to support their families and homes while their husbands were at war. It also provided women with a support system of like-minded individuals who protested and worked to bring peace to a war-torn world.
In 1975, the UN was so impressed by the advancements of women in the 1900s, that they declared '75 to be 'National Women's Year.' During this year, many subjects were addressed regarding the advancement of women in society, such as issues of sexual harassment in and out of the work environment, domestic abuse, and equal opportunity for employment.
What will you be doing this year to celebrate International Women's Day?
Women's Day 2015
This year, the theme for the centennial celebration is 'Make It Happen'.Although there is not necessarily a specific theme every year, this year the organization WomenWatch decided that this year the focus will be on " Celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women", particular in the fields of science and technology, which are predominantly male fields of expertise. This years theme will also encourage women to reach for the stars and not be held back by societal constrictions, domestically or in the workplace. WomenWatch believes that, by helping women advance their knowledge in these fields, they will have a better opportunity for high-paying and well-respected jobs, particular in our technology-obsessed modern world.
International Women's Day is celebrated around the world, and is a catalyst for the advancement of women's position in society, This day brings awareness to how far women have come from the days where they were generally homemakers and child-bearers, to having positions of significant power in politics, the media, and education. The issues addressed each year receive much attention through all of the publicity caused by this event, and with increasing awareness of women's issues comes the potential for change.
Let's Celebrate How Far We've Come!
This year, on March 8th 2015, let us remember the women, and men, who have done so much to advance the status of women, in economically developed countries and elsewhere, in the name of gender equality. Through events such as National Women's day, much can be achieved in terms of gender equality and more; because with social equality comes peace and understanding, and a better quality of life for all people.
For information on events and how YOU can participate, visit www.internationalwomensday.com/ and look for events in your area, or host your own!