Celebrated every 8th of March for more than a century (110 years to be exact!), International Women’s Month continues to serve as a reminder, a platform, and a tribute for the extraordinary women all over the world and all that they have accomplished. In this article, we talk about the history and significance of International Women’s Month and why we need to keep celebrating it.
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. – International Women’s Day.com
History and Significance
The Women’s Day Observation traces its roots as far back as 1909. Led by the women of the Socialist Party of America, the "National Woman's Day" was first held on February 28, 1909 in New York City. On March 8, 1914, the International Women’s Day was celebrated in Germany and London to fight for women’s right to vote.
From 1914 up until today, we celebrate March as Women’s History Month and March 8th as International Women’s Day. In 2010, the British marketing firm, Aurora Ventures set up the International Women’s Day Website and for every year that followed, the website promoted hashtags that highlight not only radical social movements but also promote feel–good messages for women all across the world.
In the Philippines, the observance of the International Women’s Day began in 1988 with the following issuances serving as official declarations for the annual campaign:
- Proclamation No. 224 s. 1988 declaring the first week of March each year as Women’s Week and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day
- Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988 providing for the observance of the Month of March as Women’s Role in History Month
- Republic Act (RA) 6949 s. 1990 declaring March 8 of every year as National Women’s Day.
Why Do We Celebrate the Women’s History Month and The International Women’s Day?
The International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the economic and social achievements of women. Many countries around the world would celebrate this day with demonstrations, educational initiatives, and other customs such as presenting women with gifts and flowers.
The United Nations has sponsored the International Women’s Day since 1975. Upon adopting its resolution on the observance of International Women’s Day, the United Nations General Assembly cited the following reasons:
“To recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.”
The women’s history month (March) is the month where we reflect on the often overlooked contributions of women in world history. The celebration of the Women’s History Month grew from a week long celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society that was organized by a school district in Sonoma, California in 1978.
In 1978, Women's History Month presentations were given at dozens of schools in Sonoma, California. After a few years, the idea had caught on within other communities, school districts and organizations all across the United States of America. In 1980, then President of the United States of America, Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History week.
The U.S. Congress followed suit the following year after then President Jimmy Carter’s proclamation, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration. After 6 years, the National Women’s History Project was successfully petitioned in congress to expand the event for the entire month of March.
You can check out some demonstrations here.
Why Do We Need to Keep Celebrating the International Women’s Month?
The International Women's Month not only celebrates women and their accomplishment but also serves as a reminder of how far we've come and how many challenges we still have to overcome.
This annual celebration inspires women all across the globe by providing a platform and an opportunity for them to speak up, be empowered, and to be heard louder than ever. For 2021, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) celebrates "#WomenMakeChange" and "Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya!" in line with the International Call to Action of the Women’s Month - From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.