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How Is International Women’s Day Celebrated Around The World?

Posted by Anne Q. on March 03, 2022.

International Women’s Day is a United Nations-recognized holiday that is celebrated annually on 8 March with the goal of shining a light on women’s accomplishments and bolstering campaigns for gender equality.

In today’s post, let’s learn the history of International Women’s Day and see how countries around the world observe this special celebration.

International Women’s Day Timeline

International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in the early 1900s. It was first observed in the United States and gradually become an international celebration. Let’s check out the history of this day.

International Women's Day_History

1909 marked the first time National Woman’s Day was celebrated in the United States on 28th February following a declaration issued by the Socialist Party of America. From 1909 to 1913, American women continued observing this day on the last Sunday of February.

In 1911, International Women’s Day was observed for the first time on March 19 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.

1913-1914 – Russian women celebrated their first International Women’s Day on February 23, the last Sunday in February, on the eve of World War I, when they were campaigning for peace. After discussions, it was decided that International Women’s Day would be observed yearly on March 8, which corresponded to February 23 in the widely used Gregorian calendar, and this date has been the global date for International Women’s Day ever since.

In 1975, the United Nations commemorated International Women’s Day for the first time.


The Colours Of International Women’s Day

In 1908, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the United Kingdom created the colours of International Women’s Day which are purple, green, and white. Purple is the colour of justice and dignity. Green is the colour of hope. White is a contentious notion that denotes purity.

International Women's Day_Colours 1


How Do People Celebrate International Women’s Day?

Let’s take a look at how this special day is observed around the world.

1. The United Kingdom

The Women of the World event (including International Women’s Day), which takes place in London over three days, brings together activists, lecturers, and entertainers to address global issues affecting women. WOW, which began in the United Kingdom, now includes sister festivals in various parts of the world, with intertwined speeches, debates, walking tours, films, exhibitions, workshops, fun runs and more.

International Women's Day_The United Kingdom 1


2. The United States

In the United States, International Women’s Day is not an official holiday, but the month of March is designated as Women’s History Month, a commemoration of women’s achievements throughout history, both past and present. Rallies, seminars, and corporate events are held in capital cities on March 8th, bringing together conversation and thought leadership on the topic.

International Women's Day_The US


3. Italy

In Italy, International Women’s Day is referred to as La Festa Della Donna. People in Italy celebrate the day by offering mimosa flowers to the women in their lives, similar to how red roses are given on Valentine’s Day. The yellow flower was chosen in part because it blooms in early March and is generally inexpensive.

International Women's Day_Italy 1

Women commonly pass springs of mimosas to one other as a show of female unity, which is also considered as a symbol of female strength.


4. Russia

The 8th of March is a national holiday in Russia. This holiday arose as a political commemoration of women’s struggles around the world for equal rights, full equality with men, democracy, and peace.

International Women's Day_Russia 1

The most common way Russian people commemorate this day is to pay a visit to family, have dinner and a glass of champagne. Flowers, chocolate, poetry postcards, and other pleasant presents are given by men and women to their mothers, wives, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters. On March 8th, flowers are the most common gift, with yellow mimosas and roses being the most popular.


5. Argentina

International Women’s Day has been observed in Argentina since the early twentieth century. Women are honoured in this country, as they are in Russia and Italy, by getting and donating flowers and other gifts.

International Women's Day_Argentina

Image Source: @ElviraTruglia

Over the last five years, however, protests for gender equality have occurred in Argentina around International Women’s Day, with women protesting for gender equality, an end to femicide, and reproductive rights.


6. China

China has observed International Women’s Day since 1949 after they celebrate Girl’s Day on March 7. Employers are urged (but not required) to offer their female employees a half-day off on March 8th.

International Women's Day_China 1

On Women’s Day in China, men show their affection for the women in their lives by surprising them with special presents, cards, and flowers. While the primary objective of Women’s Day celebrations is to demonstrate love and respect for women, some talks, important meetings, and award ceremonies linked to women are also organized across the country.


7. Nepal

In Nepal, Women’s Day is observed as an official holiday, and women are given the day off from work.


8. Poland

Up to about the Second World War, Women’s Day was used by socialist governments in Poland to promote the image of a woman as the leading lady of labour who supports her country. It was a mandated day of celebration in companies and schools during those years.

International Women's Day_Poland 1

Carnations and other items that were difficult to come by at the time, such as tights, towels, or coffee, were given to women. The tulip is today’s most popular gift. Women can normally expect to receive a symbolic tulip when they meet males on this day, whether it’s their boss, coworker, friend, or parent. Young males holding bunches of tulips can be found on the streets of larger cities, offering them out to women.


Wrap Up

Although being celebrated differently around the world, International Women’s Day has the same purpose -a day to celebrate women’s accomplishments and promoting gender equality. Our team at GTE Localize cheers to ladies and wishes you the best for this special day!

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