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Mar 8, 2024

International Women’s Day marked

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FA News Desk
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International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.

Today March 8 is International Women’s Day.

The day is observed every year to mark and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and raise awareness about women’s equality and accelerate gender parity.

International Women’s Day, first observed in 1911, is a holiday celebrated annually as a focal point in the women’s rights movement.

History shows that on March 8, 1908, over 15,000 women workers in the needle trades marched through New York City’s Lower East Side to protest child labor and sweatshop working conditions, and demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote.

First celebrated in the United States on February 28, 1909 in New York City, the event was organised on a suggestion of activist Theresa Malkiel and the Socialist Party of America declared the first National Woman’s Day.

In 1910 German activist Clara Zetkin convinced the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen to create an international version of the American holiday. Her suggestion was unanimously backed by the 100 women from 17 countries who were at the conference.

The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

The United Nations (UN) started marking the event in 1975. The first theme adopted by the UN (in 1996) was “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future”.

The 8 March date was chosen after Russian women demanded “bread and peace” during a war-time strike in 1917.

This year March 8, 2024, International Women’s Day is being marked globally under the theme ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress.”

International Women’s Day is a national holiday in many countries. Thousands of events take place globally, including marches, talks, concerts, exhibitions and debates.

According to the International Women’s Day website, Purple, green and white are the colours of IWD, clarifying “Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolises hope. White represents purity, albeit a controversial concept”.

However, according to the 2023 Global Gender Gap Index, published every year by the World Economic Forum, no country has yet achieved full gender equality or parity.

IFJ Statement

Meanwhile, in a press release, on International Women’s Day, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Gender Council and all IFJ affiliates pay tribute to the courage of women journalists in Gaza and demand safety and the end of the war atrocities, including any form of gender-based violence against women.

In Gaza, the humanitarian situation has become catastrophic and the risk of famine is at its deepest it said.

According to IFJ statistics, 98 journalists have been killed in Gaza since the Hamas-led attack on 7 October including thirteen women journalists  and others are exposed to the daily lack of security and safety.

“Any attempt to target journalists is a violation of international instruments that protect human rights and media workers in conflict zones, while depriving the public’s right to know. Today the IFJ stands in solidarity with women journalists reporting the war in Gaza and strictly condemns all forms of gender-based violence”, said IFJ President Dominique Pradalié.

UN Tourism

As the world marks International Women’s Day (8 March), the United Nations Specialized Agency celebrates the achievements of women in tourism while highlighting the fact that women remain underrepresented in leadership positions, face barriers to career progression and have limited access to education and training.

The benefits of increased investment in women could be huge, with evidence showing that closing gender gaps could boost GDP per capita by 20% and create almost 300 million jobs in the global economy by 2035.

Meanwhile, in a press release, Women Supporting Women Network, a non-profit organization founder Toyin Omozuwa called for concerted efforts and investment to empower women and accelerate societal progress, in commemoration of International Women’s Day 2024.

The day needs action to accelerate gender equality of opportunity for all in development, strengthening social cohesion. 

Thus, International Women’s Day is being celebrated globally calling for result oriented action.