International Women's Day(IWD), originally called International Working Women's
Day is an occasion marked by womens groups around the world. It is celebrated
around the world each year on 8th March.
Womens Day is an important celebration for the achievements and gains made by
women around the world. Woman's Day is a major day of global celebration for
the economic, political and social achievements of women.
Towards the end of the 19th century, there was a lot of turbulence in
industrialized societies with women increasingly demonstrating against oppressive
working conditions, poor pay and inequality. This also coincided with the
rising demand by women for voting rights in various countries.
In 1908, 15000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours,
better pay and voting rights. The Socialist Party of America declared that
the first National Woman's Day was observed across the United States on
28th February 1909.
Lena Lewis, U S. socialist, declared in 1910 that "It was not a time for
celebrating anything, but rather a day for anticipating all the struggles
to come when we may eventually and forever stamp out the last vestige of
male egotism and his desire to dominate over women".
The United Nations designated 1975 as International Women's Year and the same
year it gave official sanction to the IWD and began sponsoring International
Women's Day events. All its member countries too started observing the IWD and
to focus attention on issues about women's rights.
Gulalai Ismail, the Peacebuilder portrayed that "Women are not only victims of
conflict, they are drivers of peace. Women's voices must be heard if peace is
In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children
give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
In many regions, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an
occasion for men to express their love for women.
Now, International Womans Day(IWD) is an official holiday in Angola, Azerbaijan,
Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Georgia, Guinea
Bissau, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their
first International Woman's Day(IWD) on the last Sunday in February 1913.
Later on the same year, this Day was transferred to 8th March. This day has
remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since.
In Italy, men give yellow mimosas to women. In Russia and Albania too, yellow
mimosas and chocolate are the most common gifts on March 8.
The United States even designates the whole month of March as 'Womans History
In countries like Portugal groups of women usually celebrate on the night of
8 March in "women-only" dinners and parties.
In Pakistan working women in formal and informal sectors celebrate International
Women's Day every year to commemorate their ongoing struggle for due rights,
despite facing many cultural and religious restrictions.
In Poland, for instance, every IWD includes large feminist demonstrations in
The 2005 Congress (conference) of the British Trades Union Congress overwhelmingly
approved a resolution calling for IWD to be designated a public holiday in the
In the Czech Republic, huge Soviet style celebrations were held annually. After
the fall of Communism, the holiday, generally considered to be one of the major
symbols of the old regime, fell into obscurity.
Mozambique Womens Day:
Each year on 7 April, Mozambicans celebrate the national Woman's Day and honour
the gallant fighter Josina Machel, who died on 7th April 1970 in armed combat
fighting Portuguese oppression. It is a day to celebrate women's achievements
in Mozambique and reflect on their fight for equal rights.
National Women's Day is an annual public holiday in South Africa on August 9.
This commemorates the national march of women on this day in 1956. On August
9th, 1956, 20000 women staged a march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to
protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act of 1950. Since
1994 August 9th, is commemorated annually and is known as Womens Day in South
In Tunisia, it is celebrated on August 13th. It commemorates Tunisia's adoption
of the Personal Status Code on August 13, 1956 which gave Tunisian women the
legal pre-requisites f or equality.