WHY WOMEN EMPOWERMENT? (Part 1) International Women’s Day 2024


We have come a long way in the empowerment of women but more work is needed. Let’s take a look at history;

The History of the International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global celebration that recognizes the achievements and contributions of women throughout history. The day also serves as a platform to advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. The history of International Women’s Day dates back to the early 20th century and is rooted in the labor and socialist movements.

  1. Early 20th Century:
    • The first National Women’s Day was organized by the Socialist movement in the United States on February 28, 1909. It was later celebrated on March 8 the following year.
    • In 1910, the International Women’s Conference in Copenhagen proposed the idea of an annual International Women’s Day to advocate for women’s rights and suffrage.
  2. 1911: First International Women’s Day:
    • The first official International Women’s Day was observed on March 19, 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. More than one million women and men attended rallies advocating for women’s rights to work, vote, and hold public office.
  3. World War I Era:
    • During World War I, women’s contributions to the war effort and the suffrage movements gained momentum. Women in various countries used International Women’s Day as a platform to protest and advocate for their rights.
  4. Russian Revolution:
    • In 1917, Russian women went on strike for “Bread and Peace” on March 8 (February 23 in the Julian calendar then used in Russia). This event played a significant role in the Russian Revolution, leading to the establishment of a provisional government that granted women the right to vote.
  5. Recognition by the United Nations:
    • International Women’s Day gained official recognition by the United Nations in 1977 when it was proclaimed as a day for women’s rights and world peace.
  6. Post-Cold War Era:
    • With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, International Women’s Day became a global celebration, emphasizing the achievements and challenges faced by women worldwide.
  7. Recent Years:
    • International Women’s Day continues to be observed globally with a focus on various themes, such as gender equality, women’s empowerment, and the elimination of discrimination and violence against women.

Over the years, International Women’s Day has evolved into a day of celebration, reflection, and activism, with events, rallies, and campaigns taking place around the world to promote gender equality and raise awareness about women’s issues.



Why does International Women’s Day matter?

We have come a long way but we are not there yet: Whereas once women couldn’t vote, we’re now leading countries. While we once faced restrictions on where we worked, we’re now running corporations. In countries such as Australia we have rights our grandmothers could only have dreamed about, but we still don’t have complete equality. And the majority of the world’s women aren’t anywhere near as close to that goal as we are.

More than 100 years ago, that first march was about ending harmful workplace conditions, equal rights, equal pay, and an end to exploitation. And sadly, those aims are still relevant today.

Because the rights we have are not secure: Progress should be linear, but it’s too often accompanied by a step back. Sometimes, even once laws and rights are established, they are ignored anyway. For example:

  • Despite domestic violence laws, public awareness and access to legal protections, Australian men are still killing women partners or exes at the rate of one a week.
  • Reproductive rights are a political football. Here in Australia access varies by state, and in some parts of the United States laws have passed making terminations inaccessible, no matter the reason behind the woman’s decision.
  • Climate change is increasing violence against women and girls, according to a major report in 2020. Case studies included domestic abuse, human trafficking, sexual assault, and violence against women environmental rights defenders.

Because progress hasn’t been equal: Some women feel they have not encountered discrimination or harassment, or faced systemic barriers to their success, but that’s not the experience of all women. IWD is an opportunity to acknowledge the compounded challenges faced by women of colour, women with disabilities, etc. and stand in partnership with them.

It’s also a show of solidarity with our sisters living in countries who may not be able to march out of fear for their safety.

International Women’s Day is a great way to get re-inspired or re-energised, or to remind ourselves there are millions of women out there standing with us, and we’re all facing – and winning – the same battles.

IWD is a once-a-year chance to remind governments, businesses and everyone else watching that women aren’t going anywhere, and we’re prepared to take action to achieve our human rights.

Investing in women and championing gender equality turbocharges a future where everyone in society can thrive, creating a world of boundless opportunity and empowerment for all.

Reference: United Nations Women,

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Flickers of Hope is a Non-Governmental Organization with a primary focus on Education. We aim to educate, mentor, empower and equip young people, as beacons of hope for the nation.
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