International Women’s Day celebrates achievements of women


Debra Marquart, professor of English, introduces herself during the Women in the Arts: A Conversation event March 8, 2017, at Morrill Hall on International Women’s Day. Marquart read the poem “Won’t you celebrate with me” by Lucille Clifton at the beginning of the event.

Loretta Mcgraw

International Women’s Day is the worldwide celebration of women on March 8. It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality. The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day 45 years ago. 

The theme for this year’s international day is #EachforEqual, which is representative of a gender-equal world being an enabled world, and to raise awareness against bias in the fight for equality, according to In honor of this year’s theme, #EachforEqual people worldwide can celebrate by striking the pose of an equal sign with your arms in order to motivate others. The 2020 #EachforEqual campaign runs all year long.

“Historically speaking, a lot of the works and accomplishments of women have been overlooked, and so it’s important to recognize that,” said Morgan Fritz, sophomore in political science and the newly elected president of Student Government. “If you look at history books, 99 percent of it is about men, but you know that women had 50 percent of the population and [were a part] of 50 percent of things that happened in society, but it’s just not talked about. So I think it’s important now to recognize that, historically speaking, that was a mistake, and now we can move on and begin to recognize the contributions of women.”

In honor of the event, Ames Public Library hosted Heroic Stories, a performance by Iowa State Theatre, Saturday evening and a discussion to celebrate personal achievements, challenging stereotypes, fighting bias and supporting a gender-equal world, as part of the Hard Won Not Done program.

“Celebrating women just recognizes all their accomplishments,” said Lydia Greene, junior in political science and the current Liberal Arts and Science Colleges senator for Student Government. “We all deserve to be recognized for the things we’ve done, so having a women’s day, [even if] you’re a man, you absolutely can celebrate. You can support all the powerful women in your life, just as they do for you regularly.”

International Women’s Day is an official holiday in at least 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, Russia and Vietnam. The United States has not officially recognized International Women’s Day as an official holiday, although it has been proposed, according to Good Housekeeping. Despite its lack of official recognition, people across the country come together in order to honor the special day and women of all different backgrounds and cultures.

One way people get involved and honor International Women’s Day, regardless of their gender, is by wearing purple to signify justice and dignity. Purple is an international symbol for women, according to Good Housekeeping.

As demonstrated in the video “Be a Lady” by Cynthia Nixon, being a woman is about more than being a homemaker or keeping the bed warm. Being a woman is about being a courageous, strong, powerful, “kick-ass” and significant individual. To be a woman means standing up for what you love and believe in, against the grains of society, which tell people to “be a lady.” 

However one chooses to celebrate International Women’s Day, it all comes down to recognizing and appreciating the hard work and impactful events by women in the past until now.