Guest Author - Suzanne Gregory
Inspired by Clara Zetkin, Leader of the Women's Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, International Women's Day (IWD) began on March 19th, 1911 to celebrate and honor women's historical achievements all across the world. The first event marked with meetings and rallies was considered a huge success in the countries of, Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Over one million women and men attended with the hopes of gaining women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. The event was moved to March 8th in 1913. Today, thousands of events span the globe on International Women's Day.
International Women's Day is also known as United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace. In many countries the day is marked by people giving small gifts to the special women in their lives including, wives, girlfriends, teachers, friends, family members and coworkers.
It is such an honor that in many countries it is custom for closing government, schools, and businesses. It is considered a public holiday in many countries. Some of them are:
Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China ( women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar ( women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia
In some countries, such as Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Croatia, Herzegovina, Romania, and Serbia, IWD is not a public holiday, but is widely observed nonetheless.
In honor of the day in Italy, men give yellow mimosas to women. Yellow mimosas and chocolates are also the most common gifts given to women in Albania and Russia.
Every year IWD has a different theme. The IWD 2012 Theme is, CONNECTING GIRLS, INSPIRING FUTURES
The International Women's Day logo is purple and white and features the symbol of Venus, also considered the symbol of being female.
Mark your calendars for March 8th to honor and empower women, including all the special women in your life, on this and every International Women’s Day!