Women’s Day Report Writing
International Women’s Day (IWD) is the worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements – from the political to the economic, and the social – while calling for gender equality. The day has been celebrated since the early 1900s, and is now recognised each year on March 8.
IWD really began to gain momentum around the time of the #MeToo movement: since, it has become increasingly prominent, and is recognised by millions of people, businesses and charities around the world.
Usually, the day is marked around the world with arts performances, talks, rallies, networking, conferences and marches.
And, although the day was started a century ago, there are still very good reasons to mark it now. Here is everything you need to know…
How did the event start?
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact date. The first National Women’s Day, as it was called, was acknowledged in the US on February 28 1909. It was spurred on by a Ukraine-born suffragist named Clara Lemlich, who demanded better pay, shorter working hours and improved working conditions for 15,000 garment workers who went on strike in New York. The following year, The Socialist Party of America announced the first National Women’s Day in honour of these workers.
The day was formalised in 1910, when a woman called Clara Zetkin – leader of the ‘women’s office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany – tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every country should celebrate women on one day every year to push for their demands. IWD was formed after a conference of more than 100 women from 17 countries agreed to her suggestion.
Slowly, the event began to gain traction around the world, and it was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19 for the first time in 1911.
In 1913, it was decided to transfer IWD to March 8 – and it has been celebrated on that day ever since.
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, despite most attempts at social reform being subdued, women continued to march and demonstrate on International Woman’s Day.
One of the most prominent of these demonstrations was held in 1917, led by Russian feminist Alexandra Kollontai. It is credited with being a link in the chain of events that led to the abdication of Czar Nicholas II and the Russian Revolution, according to History.com.
The abdication meant that a provisional government was formed until a constituent assembly could be elected. It became the first government of a major power to grant women the right to vote and in recognition, founder of Russia’s Communist Party Vladimir Lenin declared Woman’s Day an official Soviet holiday in 1917.
International Women’s Day is now celebrated in more than 100 countries and has been made an official holiday in more than 25 – but in recent years has strayed from its political roots and become more commercialised, typically seen with men buying flowers for the women in their lives.
Why do we still celebrate International Women’s Day?
Sadly, because there is still an urgent need for the day: the original aim – to achieve full gender equality for women the world – has not been realised. There is still a gender pay gap, female leaders are still lacking, violence against women and girls persists, and women still fall behind men in terms of education and healthcare. In 2020, the UN reported that almost 90 per cent of people are prejudiced towards women globally. On IWD, women across the world come together to shine a light on these inequalities – while also celebrating the achievements of women who have overcome these barriers.
Indeed, the celebration now might be more pressing than ever. Global data released by UN Women suggested that the pandemic could have put gender equality back by 25 years, as a result of women doing significantly more domestic chores and family care. Research by Counting Dead Women calculated at least 16 domestic abuse killings of women and children had taken place in the first three weeks of the lockdown in the UK alone.
Healthcare has also been affected. Marie Stopes estimated that 9.5 million women and girls worldwide were at risk of losing access to their contraception and abortion services because of coronavirus, while thousands of other women have missed out on life-saving breast cancer screenings and smear tests.
The situation was not much better before the pandemic though, when it was estimated women were burdened with three quarters of the 16 billion hours of unpaid work done each day around the world. In 2019, women in the UK effectively worked “for free” from November 14 until the end of the year because of the gender pay gap. Women are also paid less than half than men at some of Britain’s major companies, according to gender pay gap figures.
Controversy around International Women’s Day
Opinions are generally divided on whether International Women’s Day is beneficial or not.
Although it is praised by many for raising awareness of some inequalities, there are those who have criticised it for focusing societal attention on women for just one day and thus, allowing people to ignore the issues of women’s rights on the others.
What is this year’s theme?
The official theme for IWD 2022 is #BreakTheBias – which promotes the imagining of a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
In 2021, the theme was “Choose to Challenge”, recognising the need to call out gender bias and inequality. As women around the world battled the social, economic and political fallout from Covid-19.
The previous year, in 2020, the theme was #EachforEqual, which aimed to recognise the actions we can take as individuals to challenge stereotypes and celebrate women’s achievements.
How can you get involved?
To tie in with this year’s theme, IWD organisers are asking people to strike the Break The Bias pose – with your hands held in a cross – and share it on social media to encourage a commitment to helping forge an inclusive world. Some of the submissions will be featured on the IWD website and social media feeds.
Alternatively, you could turn your attention to fundraising for a female-focused charity. Their charities of choice include Catalyst, Womankind Worldwide, and Dress for Success. You can find out more about IWD charities on their website.
How can you mark IWD this year?
The day is usually marked with marches – the main one being the March4Women event in London – as well as networking events and seminars.
This year, there are several other events taking place on March 8 across the UK. Team England will be holding an International Women’s Day Webinar, chaired by Denise Lewis OBE, during which they discuss the importance of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the positive potential impact on women’s sport.
There is also a IWD three-course dinner being held at the Hotel du Vin in Brighton with special guest speaker Sophie Walker who is a campaigner, activist and co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party UK.
Another option is to attend a free specialised self-defence training event for women – available in London and beyond – being held with the aim of empowering women, both physically and psychologically.
How is International Women’s Day celebrated across the world?
Each country has their own unique way of celebrating the day. It is an official holiday in a number of places including: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.