International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8th. This internationally recognized day celebrates women’s accomplishments throughout history. In addition to honoring women’s achievements, IWD brings attention to the many injustices committed against women. It also calls for more progress toward gender equality.
International Women’s Day was first celebrated in the United States in 1909. European countries began to celebrate International Women’s Day in 1911. Today IWD is observed as an official holiday in many countries. People around the world now celebrate IWD by holding fundraisers, festivals, demonstrations, and conferences, as well as by giving awards. The International Women of Courage Award is presented by the United States Department of State. It honors international women who have promoted women’s rights in their own countries though courage, leadership, or resourcefulness.
In 1975 the United Nations (UN) celebrated IWD for the first time. Each year, the UN chooses a theme for IWD. Previous themes have focused on peace, women’s role in conflict resolution, fighting poverty, and empowerment.