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  • Rebecca Bianco

International Womens day

International Womens Day (IWD) is a global holiday celebrated annually on 8 March as a focal point in the women's rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women. Spurred on by the universal female suffrage movement, IWD originated from labor movement in North America and Europe during the early 20th century.

The earliest version was purportedly a “Womens Day” organised by the Socialist Party of America in New York on February 28 1909. This inspired German delegates at the 1910 International Socialist Womens Conference to propose “a special women's day” be organised annually, albeit with no set date; the following year saw the first demonstrations and commemorations of International Women’s Day across Europe. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917 (the beginning of the February Revolution), IWD was made a national holiday on 8 March; it was subsequently celebrated on that date by the socialist movement and communist countries. The holiday was associated with far-left movement and governments until its adoption by the global feminist movement in the late 1960s. IWD became a mainstream global holiday following its adoption by the UN in 1977.

International Womens Day is commemorated in a variety of ways worldwide; it is a public holiday in several countries to celebrate and promote the achievement of women. The UN observes the holiday in connection with a particular issue, campaign or theme in women's rights. In some parts of the world IWD reflects its political origins by being marked by protests and calls for radical change; in other areas, particularly the West, it is largely sociocultural and centered on a celebration of womanhood. Some people say this day is not needed while others say it is a necessary step towards the representation of women, equal rights and justice.

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