International Women's Day
International Women's Day (IWD) to mark the economic, political, and social accomplishments of women.
It has been observed since the early 1900's, but its origins and history extend back to the birth of the
women's rights movement in Europe and the US.
Up until the 20th century, women in western cultures had very few rights and suffered gross injustices
under legal systems where married women had no property rights; husbands had complete power over
their wives and could imprison or beat them with impunity; and inheritance, divorce, and child custody laws
favored men. Many prominent "intellectuals" believed that education for girls and young women was
unnecessary and should be limited to only that which was necessary to run a proper home. Even in the
supposedly democratic societies founded on "liberty and justice for all, "there were no laws that established
and protected the rights of women. In fact, American women - including those from upper-class families
who had supposedly been "free women" all along - gained the right to vote 50 years after former male
slaves did and more than 140 years after the Declaration of Independence.
The month of March, particularly the 8th has a recurring significance in the History of Women's Rights -
especially the labor and socialist movements in which working women provided much of the impetus,
staging labor protests to demand better pay and working conditions. On March 8, 1857, a group of women
workers in New York City staged a protest asking for improved working conditions and better pay. This led
to the formation of the first women's labor union in March 1859.
Half a century later, women had still not received the same basic rights that men enjoyed. And so, on
March 8th 1908, exactly 100 years ago, once again, a crowd "this time 15,000 women strong" fed up with
social inequalities and spurred on by the emerging ideologies of that era, marched the streets of New York
City demanding better hours, increased wages and the right to vote. It was one year later, at the behest
of the Socialist Party of America, that the first official observance of - Women's Day" took place in the
United States on February 28th 1909.
The following year, at the 1910 Second International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen, an
International Women's Day of unspecified date was proposed to laud and support the women's rights
movement and work towards the goal of universal suffrage for women. Over 100 women from 17 countries
unanimously agreed to the proposal. As a result, International Women's Day was marked for the first time
on March 19, 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. More than 1 million people attended
rallies where women demanded the right to vote, hold public office, work, and to receive vocational training
and an end to discriminatory practices in the workplace.
In the following years, on the Eve of World War I, observances of IWD throughout Europe took on the
form of peace rallies, with women gathering to protest the war. And, in 1917, after the loss of some 2
million Russian soldiers, Russian women gathered on the last Sunday in February (February 23 according
to the Julian Calendar and March 8 according to the Gregorian) to again protest for peace "despite
opposition from the government. This historical strike proved to be the initial stage of the Russian
Revolution" 4 days later, the Czar was overthrown, and women were granted the right to vote. Soon
thereafter, the day was made an official holiday in Russia.
International Women's Day continued to grow from its roots in the socialist movement to become a global
day of recognition and celebration throughout the world, and in 1975 the United Nations designated March
8th to be 'International Women's Day. "Today, government and women's organizations around the world
observe IWD annually by holding events that honor the accomplishments and advancements of women
and call for continued action to ensure that such progress continues. Women from all continents, who have
often been divided by national boundaries and ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic, and political
differences, gather on this "their momentous day "to look back to a tradition that represents at least nine
decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace, and development. International Women's Day serves as a
reminder of all that women have achieved in the past two centuries and of what they still need to
Why is International Women's Day Celebrated?
Women constitute more or less 50% of the population in the world, but in some countries, their social
status in relation to that of men is miserable. In other countries, some progress has been achieved, but
nowhere can it be said that they have the same status as men. In many regions of the world, practices like
dowry, female infanticide, and discrimination against women are common. But women around the world
continue to strive to obtain equal social and economic rights and opportunities.
On 8th March every year, women around the world celebrate their struggle, reflect on the progress made,
call for change, and celebrate extraordinary acts of courage and determination by the sometimes ordinary
women who have played a role in establishing women's rights.
Celebrating the Middle East Women's Leader's Achievements
The Middle East Women Leaders Achievement Awards are also held on Women's Day in Dubai to elevate
and honor the singular achievements of Middle East Women in business, finance, social services,
management, media, and education who are setting a gold standard in their business and community
leadership, and who are helping to bring along the next generation of women leaders. It recognizes women
who have led the way in the advancement of women in the industry, exhibited outstanding leadership, and
made significant contributions to the industry and their community. It is a day, and an event solely focused
on women and their unique contributions to the region.
Woibex is for women who want to grow as leaders in their companies, communities, and careers. Woibex
is for women who want to meet, learn from, network with, and be mentored by leaders who understand
women’s unique challenges, gifts, and perspectives. Woibex is for women who want to succeed, surpass,
and have fun in the process.