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: Embrace Equity
To understand this year’s theme, we first need to understand the difference between equity and equality. Equality means giving each person or group the same resources or opportunities. But we don’t all start at the same place with the same foundation. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances—and gives each person or group the resources and opportunities they need to reach an equal outcome.
For these reasons, IWD organizers chose a theme that will get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action. Read more about this here.
Starting the Conversation
Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA.
IWD organizers created discussion starter videos 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.
A Commitment to Celebrate
One great way to celebrate International Women’s Day is with a FREE visit to the Center for Colorado Women’s History. The center is offering free admission and guided tours of their historic house to all guests on Wednesday, March 8.
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.