International Women’s Day is celebrated on March the 8th each year. It is an opportunity for people to celebrate the achievements of women throughout the world, as well as highlight the continuing problems that many women face.
When was International Women's Day first celebrated?
The first International Women’s Day was celebrated back in 1911. At the time, it was only marked by a few countries, including Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark.
However, the earliest trace of a similar event predates even 1911. In 1909, the Socialist Party of America declared the first National Women’s Day. Its creation was sparked by a labour movement that demanded that women be allowed to work fewer hours, receive better pay and be given the right to vote.
In 1975, International Women’s Year, the United Nations (UN) officially recognised the event. Since then the event has been celebrated annually on March the 8th.
Why is International Women's Day celebrated on March the 8th?
There are varying accounts as to why International Women’s Day is celebrated on March the 8th.
The first initial link was in 1913 when Russian women celebrated the day for the first time on the last Saturday (23rd) in February. At the time, the Julian calendar was in use, and the corresponding date on the Gregorian calendar was March the 8th.
Consequently, it was decided later that year that the day should be formally celebrated on March the 8th in the Gregorian calendar.
The following year, women across Europe marched in support of universal women’s suffrage, as well as in protest against the ever-rising international tension that would eventually culminate in the First World War.
There is another theory as to why March the 8th is celebrated as International Women’s Day. In 1917, Russian women commenced a strike for “bread and peace” in protest over the 2 million Russian soldiers who perished in WW1. This strike began once again on February the 23rd in the Julian calendar and was the spark for what became known as the Russian Revolution.
How is International Women's Day celebrated?
In many countries, including Russia, Georgia, Angola, Ukraine and Zambia, the day is an official holiday. In China, State Council advises that women are given half a day off work and La Festa della Donna, as it’s known in Italy, is celebrated by the giving mimosa blossom.
How is International Women's Day celebrated in workplaces?
Many companies choose to celebrate International Women’s Day in their own way.
Some choose to run seminars and talks, while others like to do activities and raise money for women’s charities.
International Women's Day at PayFit.
Last year at PayFit, female employees received a rose and this year we will be hosting internal lunch and learns surrounding women’s health, as well as collecting feminine hygiene products to be distributed to homeless women. We will also share one podcast per day for a week on our internal Slack channels on topics that affect women.
PayFit blog author
UK Marketing Manager