Happy International Women’s Day

Caitlin Yamada

Thursday March 8, is International Women’s Day (IWD). This is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, according to the International Women’s Day website.

On Feb. 28 in 1909, the first National Women’s Day was celebrated across the United States as declared by the Socialist Party of America. The next year, the second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. At this conference, a woman named Clara Zetkin proposed the idea of an International Women’s Day.

“She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day–a Women’s Day–to press for their demands,” according to the IWD’s website.

Her suggestion was unanimously approved by over 100 women from 17 different countries.

After a few years of honoring IWD, in 1913, March 8 was set as the global date and has stayed since.

Every year, the International Women’s Day campaign chooses a theme.

“The IWD campaign theme provides a unified direction to guide and galvanize collective action,” according to the IWD website.

The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report states that gender parity, or the equal contribution of women and men to every dimension of life, whether private or public, is over 200 years away.

This has lead the IWD campaign to choose #PressforProgress as their theme this year.

“And while we know that gender parity won’t happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day. Plus, there’s indeed a very strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support,” according to the IWD website.

Worldwide, other hashtags like #metoo and #blacklivesmatter have been striving for gender parity and the International Women’s Day Campaign is adding #pressforprogress as a call-to-action to “press forward and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.”

Previous years’ themes include #BeBoldforChange in 2017 and #PledgeforParity in 2016.

This tradition of adopting an annual theme was commenced by the United Nations in 1996, with the theme “celebrating the past, planning for the future.”

On March 4, the Ames Public Library hosted an International Women’s Day celebration and hosted a keynote speaker, Jamet Colton, a Ames school board member, recipient of the 2017 Ames Humanitarian Award and native of Santiago, Chile, who spoke about her childhood in activism and how she is “Pressing for Progress.”

“International Women’s Day is not country, group or organization specific. The day belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. So together, let’s all be tenacious in accelerating gender parity. Collectively, let’s all Press for Progress,” the IWD website states.