Change comes from challenge — and that is the message organizers of International Women’s Day 2021 hope to trumpet Monday.
“A challenged world is an alert world,” the International Women’s Day website says. “We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.”
Gender parity in government, workplaces, health care, sports and media coverage is achievable through individual change, organizers say. They hope this year’s theme for International Women’s Day — #ChooseToChallenge — will inspire individuals to challenge biases, question stereotypes and celebrate the achievements of women around the world.
In past years, International Women’s Day was celebrated with festivals, marathons and other events across the world. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, most events will be virtual. They range from a Zoom painting event in Sydney to an online marathon in Singapore.
Here’s what you need to know:
What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day has been observed for more than a century since it began in 1911. The day recognizes the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally, and it’s a call to action for gender parity.
No government, corporation, organization or media entity can claim sole credit.
What is the history of International Women’s Day?
The leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, Clara Zetkin, suggested a celebration in every country on the same day for women to “press for their demands.” This Women’s Day was first observed on March 19, 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Campaigns across Europe against WWI inspired women in other countries to adopt International Women’s Day.
The date of observance moved to March 8 in 1913. The United Nations celebrated International Women’s Day for the first time in 1975 and started the tradition of an annual theme in 1996, according to the official website.
How can I find events close to me?
There are events listed in 47 countries on the International Women’s Day website, and you can search by city and country on the events page. Some cities are sponsoring multiple events.
While most events will be held March 8, some countries began hosting them as early as Thursday and up to April 15. International Women’s Day also coincides with Women’s History Month in the U.S., so Americans may find events near them throughout March.
How is the day celebrated?
Given the pandemic, celebrations for this year’s International Women’s Day have gone virtual. For example in Atlanta, the Urban Wine Collective will host a virtual happy hour. Meanwhile, the Dallas Arboretum has scheduled a day of activities to highlight the contributions of women in STEM.
How to participate in International Women’s Day on social media
Organizers are asking supporters to “strike the Choose To Challenge pose and share on social media using #ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021.”
The pose is simply raising your hand high to “show your commitment to choose to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world,” the website says.