Do you know March 8th is International Women’s Day? Did you know that the first Women’s Day was held over 100 years ago? Well before Women in some countries were given the right to vote and given access birth control pills and maternity leave. Over the last century it has developed from a focal point for the movement for women’s rights into a truly Global movement to drive for equality and change. It celebrates the great progress already made but recognizes this is not universal and more still needs to be done.
The first Women’s day was held on 28th Feb in New York 1909 and in 1910 the international socialist women’s conference suggested it be held annually. In different countries it was celebrated on 28th February or on 8th March until 1977 when the UN General Assembly invited member states to proclaim the date of March 8th as International Women’s Day. A single International day was born!
In some countries like; Afghanistan, Cambodia, Uganda and Zambia, it is even recognized as an official holiday. In others, whilst not being an official holiday, it is celebrated in a similar fashion to Mother’s Day with the exchange of flowers and small gifts. In some places International Women’s Day is to celebrate womanhood and in others it is a day of protest against inequality. Wherever you are and however you celebrate or recognize IWD it has become an important enabler for raising awareness and driving change.
In recent years a theme has been assigned to IWD, and 2019 is no different. IWD2019 theme is Better the balance, better the world, so be on the outlook for the #balanceforbetter and #1WD2019 tags. So what does the theme mean? Well, balance is not just a women’s issue, it’s a broader issue than pay. Gender balance is essential whether it be in employees, governments, sports or any other aspect of our economies or communities and we all play our part. It is not about a single feminist or single organisation but an opportunity for us all to come together to build a truly gender-balanced world.
Whatever you do on March 8th this year it is an opportunity to remember some of the key figures in history who have stood up for what they believe in, such as Susan B Anthony, Emmeline Pankhurst or Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Reflect on the advances made in many countries across the globe and the work that still needs to be done to create a gender-balanced world…and it’s an opportunity to ask ourselves how we can Raise the Bar against any form of discrimination.
But this is only one topic that raises the bar, want to hear more inspiring stories and opportunities? Then don't be shy, get off the couch and come meet us in the bar on the 29th March for the main TEDxRotterdam event and help yourself and us raise the bar! Buy your ticket right here right now and be sure to be part of our crowd.