Women across the world will march for International Women's Day 2017
What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is a worldwide celebration of women’s achievements and a day to rally for gender equality.
According to the World Economic Forum, only five countries have closed the gender gap – a measure which looks at education, pay, health and political empowerment – by 80 per cent or more.
The UK has closed the gap by just 75 per cent, and globally the IWD does not expect full gender equality to happen until 2186.
When is International Women’s Day and when was the first?
IWD is marked on March 8 around the world with marches, conferences, talks and performances.
Its origins can be traced back to New York City in 1908, when around 15,000 women marched to demand universal suffrage, better pay and shorter working hours.
The first ever US National Woman’s Day was observed a year later on February 28.
In 1910, Clara Zatkin – then-leader of the women’s office for Germany’s Social Democratic Party – suggested that every country should celebrate an International Women’s Day.
IWD aims to achieve full gender equality
A conference of more than 100 women from 17 countries agreed, and the first IWD was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911.
Two years later the date was shifted to March 8, where it has remained for over 100 years.
To mark IWD’s centenary in 2011, former US President Barack Obama declared March to be Women’s History Month.
Donald Trump has continued Obama’s tradition of dedicating the month to women.
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On March 1 he proclaimed: “We are proud of our nation's achievements in promoting women's full participation in all aspects of American life and are resolute in our commitment to supporting women's continued advancement in America and around the world.”
Celebrities join the Women's March Tue, January 24, 2017
Madonna, Scarlett Johansson, Cher & Emma Watson joined a host of celebrities supporting the Women's March protests around the world.
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Women's March: Madonna, Scarlett Johansson, Cher & Emma Watson
International Women's Day dates back to the 19th century
What is the International Women’s Day 2017 theme?
In 1975 the United Nations formally recognised IWD and has since created a theme for each year’s celebration.
This year the theme is #BeBoldForChange – a call for groundbreaking action to drive greater change for women.
In the US, thousands of women are will take the day off work, avoid shopping for the day or wear red in solidarity with the Day Without A Woman protest.
The protest seeks to “highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the US and global economies, while calling attention to the economic injustices women and gender nonconforming people continue to face”.
The strike’s organisers include the brains behind January’s Women’s March, which saw millions of people protest on the day of Trump’s inauguration.