March 8th marks International Women's Day, bringing attention to the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
From empowerment seminars to street strikes, pop-up art shows to business master classes, female voices will echo across the globe Friday with a resounding message: Women want balance.
#BalanceforBetter is the theme for this year's International Women's Day, which is observed each year on March 8. The 2019 initiative is aimed at gender equality, a greater awareness of discrimination and a celebration of women's achievements, according to the International Women's Day website. That includes reducing the global pay gap between men and women and making sure all are equal – and balanced – in activist movements, boardrooms and beyond.
"It's a time to reflect on the progress for women and call for ways to address the unfinished business in working toward equality," said Rachel Vogelstein, a board member at the National Women's History Museum.
The day celebrates "the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women," according to its website.
It is not hosted by any country or specific movement, so organizers encourage women everywhere to host events that are "all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level."
International Women's Day is observed across the world on March 8. It is a global day that celebrates social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a "call to action" to increase gender equality. Historically,International Women's Day first emerged from the activities of labor movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. The celebrations continue to grow from strength to strength every year and various programs are organized at local and international level to mark International Women's Day.
In 1909, the first National Woman's Day was observed in the United States on February 28. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honor of the 1908 garment workers' strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.
After Copenhagen's initiative in 1910, International Women's Day was marked for the first time on March 19 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, where more than one million women and men attended rallies. They demanded women's rights to work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job.
In 1913-1914, International Women's Day became a mechanism for protesting during World War I. In Europe, on or around March 8, women held rallies either to protest the war or to express solidarity with other activists.
Against the backdrop of the war, women in Russia chose to protest and strike for "Bread and Peace" on the last Sunday in February 19117 (which fell on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar).
In 1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day 8 March 8.
Later in 1995, a historic roadmap was signed by 189 governments during the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which envisioned a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.
Each year, International Women's Day events are held worldwide - global gatherings, conferences, awards, exhibitions, festivals, fun runs, corporate events, concert performances, speaking events, online digital gatherings and more. Events are held by women's networks, corporations, charities, educational institutions, government bodies, political parties, the media and further communities.
From Uganda to the United Kingdom to the U.S., you can search for events in your city and country on the International Women's Day website. Celebrations don't have to be published on the website to mark International Women's Day, though, so check your local events to see events in your area.
© Photograph: Avel Shah / EyeEm
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