Why International Women’s Day

8 Mar 2019

As a feminist I have a plethora of reasons to celebrate International Women’s Day. I see this as a day to push for affirmative action while celebrating women. Of course as women we have a lot of issues that need to be addressed but that should not stop us from celebrating ourselves.

I have often been asked what is so special about the day and I will never tire from giving this history lesson.

Here’s the short lesson, International Women’s Day is annually commemorated on March 8 to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. It is also known as the United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. The first International Women’s Day occurred on March 19 in 1911. The inaugural event, which included rallies and meetings, was a big success in countries such as Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. The March 19 date was chosen because it commemorated the day that the Prussian king promised to introduce votes for women in 1848.

The promise gave hope for equality. The UN drew global attention to women's concerns in 1975 by calling for an International Women's Year. It also convened the first conference for women in Mexico City that year. The UN General Assembly then invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women's Rights and International Peace in 1977. The day aimed to help nations worldwide eliminate discrimination against women. It also focused on helping women gain full and equal participation in global development. 

International Men’s Day is also celebrated on November 19 each year. I’m definitely going to celebrate this too and I will write something as well.

I hope I didn’t lose you in our history lesson, so now that you know why we celebrate International Women’s Day. I thought I should share why as a proud black African woman I celebrate it and maybe motivate you to also celebrate it.

For me it’s a day of reflecting on the past and current initiatives successful or otherwise to address gender inequalities and injustices. It’s a day to celebrate different women who did varying things for women to be where they are today. It’s a day that I celebrate my female friends, co-workers, female faith based leaders, stay at home mothers, female vendors, females in the security sector, females with disabilities and many others pushing for empowerment of a woman.

For me it’s a day to remind me that I need to do more so my daughter, niece, sister, mother, aunt, grandma and granddaughter can fully enjoy being a woman. I hope you will also find your reason of celebrating the day. I hope that my family, colleagues, community, country and the world can become woman friendly. With that I say woMandla!!!

Tadiwanashe Burukai is a freelance writer and advocate for sexual reproductive health and rights. She writes for Khulumaafrika.com and also contributes to NANGO platforms. @TadieBurukai


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