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 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. You and your organization can also plan events of your own to mark this significant day.
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 2021, we take the opportunity to celebrate the rich diversity of women and girls across the globe, and the beauty, vitality, wisdom, resilience, strength and power they bring to their communities and society.
As we navigate these challenging and difficult times, we applaud the contributions of those who tirelessly demand gender, racial, economic and social justice for all women and girls.
The 2021 artwork, Bloom Together by Danielle Mack, "represents women from different walks of life thriving in the world together. They live in a garden where they can learn and support one another. Wisdom is shared with the younger generations so they can grow to be knowledgeable and passionate."
For more on the artist, please visit apaintedpage.squarespace.com.
Anisah: First Generation Latina Teen, Human & Civil Rights Spoken Word Artist, Muslim by Perla Sofia González Marinel-Lo (2018)
Transformation by Terry Sitz (2017)
A Grandmother’s Love by Holly Angelique (2016)
Wisdom Walks the Night by Josephine Alexander of Grandmother Moon Mosaics (2015)
Hmong Story Cloth from Village life in Southeast Asia (2014)
Flying Scarf from Flying Scarfs (2013)
“A Beautiful Bowl of Fruits and Vegetable from Haiti” from PeaceQuilts (2012)
IWD Art by Lauren Komarek (2011)
IWD Art by Gina Livingston Murray (2010)