By Sherah Ndjongo
International Women’s Day is a worldwide holiday celebrated on March 8 each year to recognize women’s achievements in a wide variety of fields ranging from cultural to political contributions. International Women’s Day has an interesting, rich history, first being observed at the start of the 20th century on February 28, 1909 due to the influence and popularity of labor movements and related events held all around North America and Europe. This occurred at the same time a large female garment workers’ strike in New York against bad working conditions was happening in 1908. A couple years later, in 1913 and 1914, International Women’s Day garnered some attention during World War I. However, it wasn’t until the year 1945 that the Charter of the United Nations was signed into effect. This international agreement was the first of its kind to declare equality between males and females. It sparked a series of global programs, plans, and objectives created by the UN to ensure this status remains.
The United Nations officially declared that it would begin celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8, 1975, which was International Women’s Year. In December two years later, the General Assembly put through a resolution guaranteeing United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be celebrated on any day of the year by Member States if it abides with both their national and historical traditions.
International Women’s Day is important to citizens in many various countries. Women certainly had and still have numerous universal agreements around the world, and common methods to show the growing unity of the women’s movement both in the past and in the present are to plan and hold rallies, conferences, and protests. The UN uses these strategies to help gain support for women’s rights and to especially call for increased female participation in political and economic sectors. Basically, female empowerment is a topic that will undoubtedly continue to spark important conversations across the globe.
In summation, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on how far women have come, to call for progress, and to celebrate admirable acts by women who have played an outstanding role in their countries and communities. The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” On March 8 this year, the United Nations will brainstorm how to create more momentum for the 2030 Agenda and how to follow a step-by-step plan that aims for the successful implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals. If effective, this will place an emphasis on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative and other commitments on women’s empowerment, gender equality, and women’s human rights in the near future.
About the Author: Sherah, 17, has been homeschooled for three years. “I am passionate about raising awareness about topics such as current events and culture and being able to effectively deliver a message that matters to me. I also enjoy researching and writing in hopes of educating, informing, and inspiring others.”