Women’s Day was first celebrated in New York in 1908, organized by the Socialist Party of America. Since its very beginnings, this day was more of a political idea, which started primarily in Europe and then spread throughout other regions, slowly losing its "political flavor" and becoming an international holiday. At first, this day was celebrated on the last Sunday of February and mainly focused on working women and celebrating the progress in women’s rights; this is why in some places it’s called International Working Women's Day, even today. Nowadays, International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8 all over the world in appreciation of women's contributions and achievements.

Womens Day International Women's Day is a day to reflect on women's right, celebrate their contributions and call for further progress. Shutterstock/Creative Hat

Some celebrate the holiday simply to show love to the women in their lives, but organizations like the UN still hold up the political and human rights theme designated in its beginnings, bringing social and political awareness of the struggles of women face worldwide. This day only became a popular event in the West in 1977, when the UN invited government officials to proclaim March 8 as the UN’s day for women’s rights and world peace.

Every year, the UN focuses on a theme regarding women’s rights; the last ten years have included Gender Equality Beyond 2005; Building a More Secure Future (2005), Women in Decision-making (2006), Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women and Girls (2007), Investing in Women and Girls (2008), Women and Men United to End Violence Against Women and Girls (2009), Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All (2010), Equal Access to Education, Training, and Science and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women (2011), Empower Rural Women, End Poverty and Hunger (2012), A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women (2013), Equality for Women is Progress for All (2014), Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it! (2015) and Pledging for Parity (2016). 

While there’s still a lot of work to be done, there’s no doubt progress has been made. Striking progress. Health, education, and women in leadership roles have progressed by nearly double, meaning progress is a possibility we should never stop fighting for! Happy International Women’s Day!