Historical & Current Events dictionary

International Women’s Day

[ in-ter-nash-uh-nl wim-inz dey ]

What is International Women's Day?

International Women’s Day is a day devoted to celebrating and empowering women. It is observed in different ways around the world but generally focuses on promoting women’s rights, raising awareness of issues that affect women, and celebrating women’s achievements.

International Women’s Day takes place during Women’s History Month, which is a month-long observance dedicated to education about and celebration of women’s contributions to history, society, and culture.

When is International Women's Day?

International Women’s Day happens every year on March 8.

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Related words

Women's History Month, Shine Theory, Lewis's Law, 👩 Woman emoji, ♀️ Female Sign emoji

Where does International Women’s Day come from?

Early observances of the day that would become International Women’s Day were rooted in political and labor activism by women. In 1909, the Socialist Party of America organized the first National Women’s Day. In 1911, the first International Women’s Day was held in support of women’s suffrage (the right to vote). On International Women’s Day in Russia in 1917, tens of thousands of women protested against food shortages. This demonstration is often credited with leading to other protests that pressured the Tsar to relinquish power later that year, after which Russian women received the right to vote.

The United Nations first officially recognized the celebration of International Women’s Day in 1975, the year it had adopted as International Women’s Year. Today, observances of the day vary. In many places, it is a celebration of women and their achievements, but in many other places it also continues to be a day focused on activism to achieve equal rights.

Examples of International Women’s Day

Congratulations President Kersti Kaljulaid and PrimeMinister kaja Kallas Estonia. The only country to have two women at the helm. Celebrate @International Women’s Day 2021 themed ‘Women in leadership:Achieving an equal future on road to#Generation Equality
@phumzileunwomen, February 8, 2021
However, the celebration of International Women’s Day itself did not hold as much weight in the U.S. through the 20th century as it did in other countries, largely due to its political associations with the Soviet Union and socialism amid increasing Cold War tensions.
Suyin Haynes, TIME, March 7, 2019
Celebrate International Women's Day with our talk exploring the influence of feminist pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft on Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing. Looking forward to seeing you on 3 March at 7pm!
@GaskellsHouse, February 6, 2021
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More information and context on International Women's Day

Did you know … ?

  • In some Eastern European countries, International Women’s Day is also celebrated as Mother’s Day.
  • The UN assigns a theme to each International Women’s Day often relating to social issues and their impact on women. The 2021 theme is “Choose to Challenge.”

What are other words used in discussion of International Women’s Day?

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Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of International Women’s Day like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of International Women’s Day that will help our users expand their word mastery.