International Women's Day
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Each year, March 8 is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women and renew our efforts in achieving gender equality in Canada and around the world.
The beginnings of this global day traces back to the early twentieth century, emerging from the activities of labour movements in North America and Europe, reflecting a growing movement for women to participate equally in society. IWD was first observed on March 19, 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. On that day, more than one million women and men showed their support by participating in public events. In years that followed, other countries began to observe and celebrate this significant day. Within this global day’s findings, this date was chosen, as it was to celebrate the day that the Prussian king promised to introduce votes for women in 1848. As this promise gave women hope for equality, it unfortunately was a promise he failed to keep. Hence, International Women’s Day’s date was moved to March 8 in 1913. Much progress has been made to protect and promote women’s rights in recent times. However, nowhere in the world can women claim to have all the same rights and opportunities as men. On average, women receive between 30-40 percent less pay than men for the same type of work. The majority of the world’s 1.3 billion absolute poor are women. Women also continue to be victims of violence, with rape and domestic violence listed as significant causes of disability and death among women worldwide.
So, what colors signify International Women’s Day? Internationally, purple is a color for symbolising IWD, featuring the symbol of Venus, which also symbolizes the being of a woman. Historically the combination of purple, green and white to symbolise women's equality originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union in the UK in 1908. The color purple signifies justice and dignity, which are the two important goals, which IWD aims to achieve for all women in all parts of the world. Green symbolises hope, and white represents purity, but is no longer used due to 'purity' being a controversial concept. The introduction of the colour yellow representing a 'new dawn' is commonly used to signify a second wave of feminism. Thus purple with green represents traditional feminism, purple with yellow represents progressive contemporary feminism. Faces of women of all backgrounds, ages, and nations are also seen in various promotions, such as posters, postcards and information booklets, on International Women’s Day. Various messages and slogans that promote the day are also publicized during this time of the year.
How can we celebrate women’s day? If you’re a man and you want to show your appreciation and love for the workingwomen in your life, here are a few ways in which to do so:
At home: Make your wife, partner, girlfriend, spouse, or sister feel special on the day. Give her a bunch of flowers, make her breakfast or take her out to dinner in the evening. Alternatively, make an effort to relieve her of some of her regular responsibilities at home. If she normally cooks dinner, takes the kids to school or takes out the trash, do this for her to show her you appreciate her both as a woman in your life and as a working woman.
At the office: If you have an office job then you’re definitely sharing the office with women. Make an effort to show them your appreciation at work on the day. Buy a cake to share in the office, or buy each woman a flower to wear on her chest on the day. If this is not possible, then simply be nice to the women sharing the office with you on the day, and just express the gratitude we have for them.
As these are just some ways to show our love and appreciation for women, it’s important to let women know that today is their day. Let’s take time to appreciate their driving forces of the world, as without them our existence is impossible. Ladies, today is your day! Be happy, and enjoy this day and everyday to the fullest!
Happy International National Women’s day!