Held on March 8th every year, International Women’s Day is a worldwide celebration honoring the countless achievements made by women. But interestingly enough, the very first International Women’s Day was not held on March 8th like it is today or even in February as it is in America. The initial date was actually on March 19th in 1911 and the inaugural event included rallies and organized meetings and was a smash global success especially in Denmark, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. So, why is International Women’s Day held on March 8th?
The modern March 19th date was chosen due to its international impact as it celebrated the first day the king of Prussia promised to let women have the opportunity to vote in 1848. Tragically, the king did not hold up his promise which would serve as a great reminder for women everywhere that we can never stop pushing for equal rights or take them for granted. In 1913, International Women’s Day was moved to March 8th which is where it has remained ever since.
What is the story behind International Women’s Day in the United States?
The history of International Women’s Day is over a hundred years old and continues to grow and evolve each year. While the rest of the world started its official observation in 1911, America has its own Women’s Day customs that began a bit earlier. In America, the first National Woman’s Day was observed in 1908 and took place on February 28th. America’s Socialist Party adopted this day to give thanks and honor the incredibly hard-working women who worked in New York’s garment district. The women were on strike protesting against deplorable and often deadly working conditions.
While celebrating International Women’s Day isn’t super common in the United States, it continues to grow as more and more women and allies become aware of the movement, its meaning, and its significance. In joining with worldwide efforts, we can honor the unique contributions and achievements of women all over the world as well as spend a day focusing on inequalities that women still face to this day. Meetings, rallies, and summits take place both large and small to champion women’s equality in nations around the globe.
Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day
Of course, a lovely and simple way to celebrate the women in your life is to send them a bouquet of flowers from ProFlowers or a gorgeous gift basket designed for women delivered directly to their door. Consider sending a mix of purple and white blooms as the International Women’s Day logo is purple and white. The official flag of the Women’s Day movement features the symbol of Venus, which is also the classic female, so feminine flowers with a bit of mystery like the iris would be a gift that has meaning and beauty.
Donate to a Woman-Focused Non-Profit
Donating to a woman-centric cause is also an incredible way to celebrate the camaraderie of women both here in the United States and around the world. Kiva Loans is an excellent and unique way to not just spend money by giving a one-time donation but to actually invest in women in need around the world, get that money paid back and be able to invest again.
With Kiva, you can invest as little as $25 or as much as you’d like and choose women (or men) around the world to crowdfund to help them achieve their business goals and support themselves or even their family. Kiva supports women in need all over the globe by offering loans to women trying to better their lives that they can slowly repay without fear of punishment or getting anything repossessed.
This empowering program is so successful that 97% of these small interpersonal loans are repaid and you get the choice to invest in another woman! Whether it’s a young woman in rural China trying to raise money for fabrics to start a dressmaking shop or an elderly woman in Peru looking to support her daily farm by purchasing grains to sell in the market, there are thousands of amazing ways to support women and make their dreams come true.
Make an Impact on Women in Your Community
On a community level, consider making small self–care treats or goodie bags for your local women’s shelter. Call a women’s homeless shelter or domestic violence shelter and see if there is anything that the women there need. Typically toiletries like toothbrushes, razors, shower gel, and shampoos are appreciated, but you can get creative, too! Make a few Women’s Day gift bags filled with small candies, a pretty journal, cute socks, and lipgloss alongside the essentials.
The office will be able to tell you where and when you can drop off the items and you’ll be able to truly enjoy International Women’s Day knowing that you had a direct positive impact on the women in your city.
Celebrate the Women in Your Life
Last but certainly not least, give a call or text to a few women in your life that have inspired you. Whether it’s a teacher, a friend, or even an old schoolmate you lost touch with, sending a lovely inspired message letting them know how they positively influenced your life will likely make their entire month and maybe even inspire them to do the same creating a beautiful butterfly effect of gratitude and kindness.
Plan a small gathering or casual dinner to celebrate the important women in your life. You can make it as casual as a movie night where you watch movies by female directors or documentaries about women’s issues around the globe, or you can go all out with a sit-down dinner where everyone can bring a favorite dish from their nationality to bring in some international flair.
Encourage your guests to bring a few women who mean something to them and you’ll have an amazing time while also getting to meet new allies. Save some time for storytelling and chatting to share everyone’s hopes, dreams, and experiences as women. You can even start brainstorming conversation topics by reading articles from women-centric journals, websites, or empowering quotes.