Tuesday, March 8 marks the 108th observance of International Women’s Day as we celebrate the achievements of inspiring women across the globe.
The roots of this festival of feminity date back to 1909 when across America women marched for better working conditions and voting rights on February 28. The event was known as National Women’s Day and was organized by the Socialist Party of America. International Women’s Day was born two years later in 1911 after German socialist Luise Zietz suggested a more global celebration at a Socialist International meeting in Copenhagen in 1910. The trailblazer’s idea was quickly seconded by well-known German socialist Clara Zetkin and the motion was passed by over 100 women in attendance at the meeting.
Two years later, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in 1911 with countries including Austria, Denmark, Switzerland and Germany taking part.
Most countries have their own means of celebration, whether they be talks, concerts or marches. And in some countries, including Russia and Vietnam, March 8 is recognised as a public holiday.
This year, International Women’s Day will recognize the economic, political and social achievements of women in an abundance of different ways. In the U.SHarry Potter actress Emma Watson is among the public figures due to take part in the launch of HeForShe Arts Week which runs from March 8 to March 15 and aims to spotlight women’s rights across the globe through ballet, opera, concerts, museums, art exhibitions and theatre productions. A percentage of the profits will be donated to UN Women.
Here are some of the worldwide celebrations planned around the world for International Women’s Day 2016:
The United Nations will ring in International Women’s Day quite literally on Tuesday morning, as Lakshmi Puri, deputy executive director of UN Women, will ring the bell on the New York Stock Exchange at 9am.
Elsewhere, UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson will be one of the distinguished speakers at a rally to launch HeForShe Arts Week. She joins the likes of New York First Lady, Chirlane McCray, to begin the week-long spotlight on women’s rights and gender equality.
London’s Southbank Centre will play host to the Women of the World festivalfrom March 8. The weeklong series of events include talks from comics such as Caitlin Moran, poetry readings, dance lessons and even a demonstration from the sword-wielding stars of Muslim Girls Fence.
Fully immersive experiences guided by female sherpas are the order of the day in Mumbai. SeekSherpa is honoring the knowledge of its local tour guides by hosting a series of events tied into International Women’s Day. These include an all-girl pub crawl and, for foodies, a bus tour of hidden culinary hotspots in Delhi.
Silicon Valley, eat your heart out. Taiwan hosts a Girls in Tech evening in Taipei on March 8, celebrating entrepreneurial women of the web. App developer Christiana Chen, founder of online supermarket OrangeNow, is among the speakers. Organizers will also announce their annual 40 Under 40 Women in Tech list.
In Melbourne, a concert featuring new works by local young composers is being planned by the University of Melbourne. All the proceeds from the event, “This Will Be Our Reply”, are to be donated to the Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre.
Brisbane, meanwhile, will host an art auction and concert of its own. The event titled “Putting the Pieces Together” celebrates the artwork of 15 artists, who will be auctioning off their latest pieces, plus performances from four female musicians. The event will raise money for the Zig Zag Young Women’s Resource Centre.