What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day of recognition and celebration, marking the achievements of women and inspiring action to achieve greater gender equality and justice.
IWD has been observed since the early 1900s, beginning with women marching to demand voting rights, better pay, an end to discrimination, and more. In 1910, at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, over 100 women representing 17 countries voted unanimously to recognize International Women’s Day as an annual event. IWD has been celebrated on March 8 every year since 1913.
IWD has grown year after year, reaching women and communities in developed and developing countries alike. Women’s organizations around the world have observed IWD by holding events that honor women’s progress, while also emphasizing the importance of continued action to ensure that gender justice is achieved and maintained. Many governments also participate in recognizing International Women’s Day, and IWD is now an official holiday in over 25 countries. In addition, the United Nations holds an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women’s social, political, and economic rights.
Through these thousands of events, locally and globally, we are united in our celebration and renewed in our efforts.
How does the NRCDV recognize IWD?
At the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, we celebrate IWD each year by commissioning or purchasing a piece of artwork made by a woman or a collective of women that honors the struggles and successes that we face. Past art has included a quilt made by PeaceQuilts, a women’s sewing cooperative in Haiti; handmade flying scarfs made by women artisans in Afghanistan; a Hmong story cloth, and a glass mosaic by artist Josephine Alexander, a paper on canvas piece in the style of Matisse paper cut outs by Terry Sitz and many more featured below. Through this art, we join with women across the world in envisioning and working to make real a future of autonomy and equality for women and girls.
For 2019, in a partnership with National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) we honor the survival and resiliency of our Indigenous sisters, grandmothers, mothers, daughters, and aunties, despite enduring generations of forced colonization and genocide.
The photograph The Silenced Sister by Cody Hammer, a member of the Cherokee Nation and descendant of the Muskogee Creek Nation, brings awareness to the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) by representing the woman or girl who was silenced and was always in the crowd.
I care deeply about this topic as a father, son, and husband of Indigenous women. Bringing awareness to these cases and legislation means that my daughters might have a safer future. A future where they aren’t scared of being taken or find out that someone they care for has been taken. MMIWG is the reason why I protect my family to the best of my abilities and advocate for the fallen sisters that can’t advocate for themselves. – Cody Hammer
In addition, this year the NRCDV Radio also released a podcast featuring Cody Hammer for IWD entitled International Women’s Day 2019: Honoring our Indigenous Sisters.
How can I participate in IWD?
IWD events are held in cities all across the world on March 8 and in the days and weeks surrounding International Women’s Day. You can search for events in your area here. You and your organization can also plan events of your own to mark this significant day.