How It Started
From the 1880s to the 1920s, millions of women around the world collaborated to build movements for women’s suffrage, improved working conditions and pay, increased political equality and inclusion, and to promote international peace. In the United States, women often took part in international organizations where their global sisters shared strategies for achieving political and social equality.
In 1910 following an International Conference on Working Women in Copenhagen, early organizers approved a proposal to create an International Women’s Day (IWD). The first commemorations were held in March of 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Participation grew, and in 1975 the United Nations officially recognized IWD and encouraged member states to adopt their own days of commemoration.
In the new millennium, the focus of IWD reflects global cultural shifts to recognize the achievements of women and to highlight areas where continued inequities exist. In some areas of the world, IWD is as popular and important as Mother’s Day—and families take time to recognize and show appreciation for the women in their lives.
This Year’s Theme: Choose to Challenge
Liking or sharing a post on social media is not enough to achieve real change that is equitable and sustainable. In order to achieve enduring cultural change, we need to challenge gender bias and inequality wherever we see it.
For these reasons, IWD organizers chose a theme centered on taking personal responsibility to call others into the conversation about equity and inclusion. IWD organizers created a discussion starter video and activities that you can participate in within your own work, school and home environments. You can find resources for celebrating and promoting the day on their website.
Celebrating the accomplishments of women and promoting gender parity go hand in hand with FRCC’s philosophy of inclusion. On this International Women’s Day, let’s all make a commitment to celebrate those around us who promote gender parity, and to choose to challenge inequity when and where we see it. By doing so we all create a respectful and inclusive environment where everyone is welcome.
Celebrate women’s achievement.
Raise awareness against bias.
Take action for equality.