When is International Women’s Day 2023? Date and history of celebration

It’s celebrated on the same date each year (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a worldwide celebration of women and their social, political and cultural achievements.

People from all sorts of backgrounds come together to cheer women on, encourage gender equality and highlight the issues that still need to be tackled so that the world can be a fairer and safer place for us all.

So, when is International Women’s Day celebrated and how can you get involved?

Here’s everything you need to know.

When is International Women’s Day in 2023?

Every year, people around the globe celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 – which this year falls on a Wednesday.

Celebrate the wonderful women in your life this International Women’s Day (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The special day takes place on the same day every year, but the type of events on offer are usually shaped around the theme, which changes each year.

According to the International Women’s Day website, this year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity.

International Women’s Day is often marked with huge rallies (Picture: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The campaign theme is explained as:

‘Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.

‘A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA. And it’s critical to understand the difference between equity and equality.

‘The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about Why equal opportunities aren’t enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action. 

‘We can all truly embrace equity. It’s not just something we say. It’s not just something we write about.

‘It’s something we need to think about, know, value and embrace. It’s what we believe in, unconditionally. Equity means creating an inclusive world.’

Encouraging more women into science, technology, engineering and maths careers is part of the UN’s theme for International Women’s Day 2023 (Picture: Getty Images)

As for the United Nations’ theme for the special occasion, it is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’.

The UN points out that only 22% of workers in artificial intelligence are women, saying: ‘Women’s underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education and careers remains a major barrier to their participation in tech design and governance.

‘And the pervasive threat of online gender-based violence—coupled with a lack of legal recourse—too often forces them out of the digital spaces they do occupy.  

‘At the same time…the digital age represents an unprecedented opportunity to eliminate all forms of disparity and inequality.’

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When did International Women’s Day start?

International Women’s Day’s origins date all the way back to 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City to demand shorter working hours, better pay and voting rights.

Later in 1910, Clara Zetkin, a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, proposed the creation of an International Women’s Day.

She suggested that the day could be dedicated to celebrating women and offer an opportunity to inspire necessary societal changes.

The idea was unanimously approved by numerous countries across the West.

By 1914, March 8 was officially coined as International Women’s Day and has remained that way ever since.

The event received official recognition by the United Nations in 1975.

suffragettes protesting for women's rights

International Women’s Day dates back to 1908 (Picture: George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)

How is International Women’s Day celebrated?

International Women’s Day is celebrated in a myriad of ways. Some celebrate it by giving gifts and uplifting the women in their lives, while others join impactful protests and demonstrations to improve gender equality.

The day sees countless virtual and in-person events take place across the globe.

You can track down the events happening near you via the official IWD website – in London they include a free self-defence lesson on the evening of March 8.

In the UK, IWD will be marked with musical performances, fun runs and walks, special exhibitions and get-togethers, pop culture quizzes, bike rides, educational sessions and more.

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