International Women’s Day_8th March 2019The origins of the International Women’s Day can be traced to the labour movements that emerged at the return of the twentieth century in North America and Europe. In 1910 Clara Zetkin, the leader of Women’s Office of Germany’s Social Democratic Party tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. The proposal received unanimous support, and the first Women’s Day was held the following year on 19 March. In 1913, International Women’s Day was moved to 8 March and has been held on this day ever since. Australia’s first International Women’s Day was held in 1928 in Sydney and the next year the event was celebrated in Brisbane. In 1931, annual marches were launched in both Sydney and Melbourne and both marches continue to be held today.International Women’s Day is an occasion to review how far women have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development. It is also an opportunity to unite, network and mobilise for meaningful change. Each year, UN Women’s National Committee Australia hosts some of the largest International Women’s Day events around the country to celebrate global achievements and discuss actions needed to continue accelerating gender equality.
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Shaesta Waiz, an Afghan-American professional pilot, has been flying solo around the world to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) among girls. She shared her inspiring story with schoolgirls in Kabul of how she achieved her ambitions as the daughter of an Afghan immigrant. UNDP Afghanistan/Omer Sadaat (2017)
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
The 2019 theme Think equal, build smart, innovate for change focuses on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.
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History of the Day
International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe.
Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.
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Sylvanna Antat, Marine Research Officer with the Seychelles National Parks Authority, plays a leading role in mapping coral reefs in the waters around in Seychelles. Across the world, women’s leadership in conservation efforts is often invisible. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown