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What you may not know about International Women’s Day on March 8th.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated around the world every year on March 8 in recognition of the social, economic, cultural, professional, and political achievements of women.

Having grown in popularity globally, the day is dedicated to honoring women’s leadership at all levels and advancing gender equality as a civil right and socioeconomic imperative. The day encourages dynamic dialogue that celebrates women’s achievements, raises awareness about gender equality, lobbies for accelerated gender parity, and fundraises for female-focused organizations and charities.

Additionally, IWD occurs annually in the month of March, which is also acknowledged as Women’s History Month.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is choose to challenge. A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change so let’s all choose to challenge.

This year, women and supporters are asked to share a photo with one hand raised to show their support, solidarity, and commitment to choose to challenge.

Here are more facts about International Women’s Day you may not have known:

The origin of International Women’s Day dates back more than 100 years ago. The now-dissolved Socialist Party of America organized the first National Women’s Day, which took place on February 28, 1909. The following year, the leader of Germany’s “Women’s Office” for the Social Democratic Party proposed the idea of a global International Women’s Day to allow people around the world to celebrate women’s achievements at the same time. The first International Women’s Day was held March 19, 1911 with celebrations in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Denmark.

The United Nations officially adopted International Women’s Day in 1975. The U.N. also dubbed 1975 as “International Women’s Year” and celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8 for the first time. Since then, the U.N. has served as the primary sponsor of the annual day and encouraged more countries to embrace the holiday.

International Women’s Day is an official holiday in a dozen countries. Afghanistan, Cuba, Vietnam, Uganda, Mongolia, Laos, Cambodia, Armenia, Belarus, Montenegro, Russia, and Ukraine – all recognize IWD as an official holiday.

Each year’s International Women’s Day and its festivities is accompanied by an official theme. In 1996, the U.N. created a theme for that year’s IWD, which was “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future.” The U.N. has continued the tradition of themes for IWD in the years that followed. In 2020, the IWD’s theme was “Let’s all be each for equal” or “Each for equal.”

Written by Let’s Detroit Alica McClendon

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