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International Women's Day & Women's Rights

06 March, 2013 16:50  Erin Erin

International Women’s Day logoInternational Women's Day is a celebration and recognition of women's economic, political and social achievements. Falling on March 8th, the day actually began as a Socialist political event in the United States of America on February 28th, 1909. In August 1910, an International Women's Conference preceding the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen expanded interest in "International Woman's Day" (IWD). The next year, on March 18th, 1911 IWD was celebrated by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In 1975, the United Nations began to sponsor International Women's Day. The date was eventually finalized as March 8th to remember the 1857 strike by garment workers in New York which led to the formation of the first women's union in the United States.

International Women's Day is now a public holiday in over 30 countries, with unofficial celebrations taking place around the world. This year, the International Women's Day is dedicated to "The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum". In light of the triumphs and tragedies (listen to our expat chat about woman traveling alone) that befall woman every day, this global event is a necessary step in marking how far woman have come, and how much more there is to accomplish.

International Women's Day Celebrations

In honor of IWD, LUSTlab created a fascinating interactive map of markers in woman's rights and advancements all over the globe: Woman's Political Rights Around the World. Slide the scale to watch the dark map of 1892 brighten as you move into the present.

International Women's Day Australia

Important dates:
Woman's suffrage: 1902
Woman Eligible for office: 1902
lst woman elected to office: 1943

In 2010, Sydney was identified as having female leaders occupying every major political office. All female performances and celebrations are held with important female members of government providing speeches.

International Women's Day in Armenia

Important dates:
Woman's suffrage: 1921
Woman Eligible for office: 1921
lst woman elected to office: 1990

International Women's Day is an official holiday in Armenia, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union, April 7th was introduced as state holiday of "Beauty and Motherhood". However, people still celebrate International Women's Day on March 8 and "Women's Month" is now an event between March 8 and April 7.

International Women's Day in China

Important dates:
Woman's suffrage: 1949
Woman Eligible for office: 1949
lst woman elected to office: 1954

Only woman get the day off for this national holiday in China. Friendly sports competitions, concerts, and promotions in shopping centers all take place.

International Women's Day in Egypt

Important dates:
Woman's suffrage: 1956
Woman Eligible for office: 1956
lst woman elected to office: 1957

The country often notes International Women's Day through protest and marches. Differences in salary and opportunities are discussed and changes are championed.

International Women's Day in India

Important dates:
Woman's suffrage: 1950
Woman Eligible for office: 1950
lst woman elected to office: 1952

This International Women's Day will both be a celebration and a remembrance of the tragic events of violence against woman this year. Woman will gather to share their experiences and lend strength in demonstrations and conferences.

International Women's Day in Italy

Important dates:
Woman's suffrage: 1945
Woman Eligible for office: 1945
lst woman elected to office: 1946

On March 8th, Italian men offer their women the traditional gift of yellow mimosas as an expression of female solidarity. Declared a special date in 1945 by the Union of Italian Women, the event is a reminder to honor all the woman in your life.

International Women's Day in Brazil

Important dates:
Woman's suffrage: 1932
Woman Eligible for office: 1932
lst woman elected to office: 1933

As the country continues to prepare for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, flowers are offered to loved ones and talks on women's issues are held. Some woman take the day to make themselves feel beautiful getting deals at salons and manicurists.

International Women's Day in the UK

Important dates:
Woman's suffrage: 1918
Woman Eligible for office: 1918
lst woman elected to office: 1918

Woman and men gather to discuss women's issues and discuss policy. Campaigns include the "Join Me on the Bridge" event that is based on Rwandan and Congolese women who met on a bridge joining their two countries as a demonstration that women could build bridges of peace. Women will march on bridges in London and other locations around the world.

International Women's Day USA

Important dates:
Woman's suffrage: 1920
Woman Eligible for office: 1788
lst woman elected to office: 1917

The holiday that started in the US is going strong with discussions, parties, and demonstrations. Different campaigns have included controversial campaigns like "Rock the Lips" and free cupcakes. Some participants simply donate money to women's causes, engage in political debate, and enjoying their freedoms and rights.

Your Celebration

To find out more about celebrations and events, go to the International Women's Day website. In addition, you can plan events with other expats on the forums.

    If you can't do something in person, participate online:
  • Follow the Twitter feed featuring latest news, events, resources, comments and much more and use the hashtag #womensday
  • Watch and enjoy the YouTube
  • and more

Tell us what you are doing for International Women's Day!


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