March 8th is right around the corner; so many are looking for Women’s Day gifts and planning celebrations. Others aren’t sure what the holiday is all about. Whether you’re the former or the latter, a little history about the celebration is in order. International Women’s Day is an official holiday celebrated around the world on March 8th. It commemorates women’s long-lasting fight for equal rights, and their outstanding contributions to the world. The holiday recognizes their accomplishments in all spheres of life, from economic and political, to cultural and artistic.
Women’s struggle for equality is not the story of a single feminist or organization, but the efforts of everyone who cares about human rights. International Women’s Day means different things to different people. For some it’s a call-to-action to empowering women around the world to stand up for themselves. However, for others it’s similar to Mother’s Day: a time to honor mothers, wives, daughters, and colleagues with Women’s Day Gifts. There’s no wrong way to celebrate, no one person to notice: it’s a day for all women. Everything from a hug to a gift basket is a welcome way to thank them for being amazing.
International Women’s Day history
International Women’s Day celebrates achievements and struggles of the women throughout history. The holiday began during labor movements in North America and across Europe in the early 1900s. In 1909, the first official Women’s Day was celebrated to honor the garment women’s strike in New York. Over 15,000 female workers marched through the city in 1908. They protested horrendous working conditions and demanded voting rights, better pay, and shorter working hours.
In 1910, Clara Zetkin – leader of the ‘women’s office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany – initiated Women’s Day celebrations. Later, in 1911, it was observed for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19. Then in 1913, the holiday was moved to March 8, and it has been celebrated on that day ever since.
Now International Women’s Day is an official holiday in over 100 countries around the world. It’s celebrated in Belarus, China, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and many more.
How to Celebrate International Women’s Day
Learn about the achievements of women around the world
Women are often overlooked in history, but their achievements cannot be forgotten. Read up on females in history who have made a difference. Stop by a library, bookstore or go online, there’s a lot of literature available on the topic. Check out Simone de Beauvoir’s classic groundbreaking study of women “The Second Sex” (1949).
There are also many informative movies you can watch to educate yourself. Have a movie night with friends and watch documentaries about great women and their contributions to world history.
Donate to a good cause
There are many wonderful organizations that help women around the world. Find a cause important to you, from preventing domestic violence to breast cancer research, and donate whatever you can. Whether it’s money, clothing, food, or your time, every little bit helps. Volunteering at a local women’s shelter helps remind you about the difficulties women continue to face. It will also keep you doing your part to help the cause.
Participate in a marathon
Communities around the world host marathons, walks or even protests during International Women’s Day to raise awareness or money. See if there is a local walk in your area. Joining like-minded people can help show your support and raise awareness for the struggles of women around the world.
Send Women’s Day gifts
Along with celebrating women’s history on International Women’s Day, it’s important to acknowledge those close to you. Let your Mom, girlfriend, wife, or colleague know you care and tell her why she is so important. It’s as simple as thanking your mother for raising you or sending Women’s Day gifts that include her favorite flowers.
If the woman you want to celebrate is far away you can use social media and share a loving post. Or send a thoughtful Women’s Day gift and help her to indulge in a day’s worth of self-care. A spa gift basket will submerge her in scented bathwater that might just be heavenly enough to cleanse her of toxic gender stereotypes. Add chocolate and repeat as necessary. A delicious gourmet hamper big enough to share (or not) will seduce with sweet aroma of equality.
International Women’s Day Traditions Around The World
In countries like Albania, Belarus, Italy, and Russia, it’s traditional to give women bouquets of yellow mimosas with chocolates on Women’s Day. Other Eastern European countries have flower-giving traditions, but Russia takes Women’s Day celebrations to a new level. This century-old holiday trumps Valentine’s Day in importance, and is one of the most widely observed festivals during the year. On March 8th, men of all ages will rush to arrange extravagant celebrations for the women in their lives. They spoil them with flowers, Women’s Day gifts, and attention.
In Armenia, March 8 starts an unofficial “Women’s Month.” It’s a month-long celebration of women that culminates in Motherhood and Beauty Day, on April 7. In China, women get a half-day off and to go shopping since many stores have special holiday discounts. Women in Italy enjoy free entry to all museums “celebrat[ing] the feminine world” by highlighting art by and about women.
No matter how you decide to honor and empower women this International Women’s Day, follow our simple tips and make a difference!