What is International Women's Day?

Banner for International Women's Day 2018

Each year, March 8 is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women and renew our efforts in achieving gender equality – in Canada and around the world.

The beginnings of International Women's Day (IWD) trace back to the early twentieth century, emerging from the activities of labour movements in North America and Europe and reflecting a growing movement for women to participate equally in society.

The first International Women's Day was observed on March 19, 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. That day, more than one million women and men showed their support by participating in public events. In the years that followed, other countries began to observe and celebrate this day.

The United Nations recognized 1975 as International Women's Year and began celebrating IWD on March 8, later adopting a resolution designating March 8 as International Women's Day.

Today, International Women's Day is celebrated around the world – in many countries, it is a national holiday. It has grown to become a global day of recognition of women's achievements and a call to action to support women's rights and advance gender equality.

Join this year's IWD celebrations and add your voice to those calling out inequality using the hashtag #MyFeminism.

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