This International Women’s Day, we are dedicating our channels to celebrating women’s achievements and providing a platform to magnify women’s voices; raising awareness for women who have challenged and continue to challenge gender bias as well as transformed the face of their industries.
This year’s campaign theme is “Choose to Challenge”. In this post, we have explored how International Women’s Day first came about and what this year’s theme really means.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed in different ways since the early 1900s – a time of great expansion and transformation spurring women to become more active in campaigning for change. Throughout the early 1900s, women campaigned for the right to work, to receive training, to vote, to hold public office and against poor working conditions and discrimination.
However, by the new millennium, there was little activity surrounding IWD and despite gender inequality continuing to be an ongoing struggle, the day had almost been forgotten. To re-ignite momentum behind the day, IWD launched their online platform in 2001 and each year assign a campaign theme to provide a direction for the annual activity. 2011 was the centenary of International Women’s day and in the United States, President Barack Obama proclaimed March 2011 to be “Women’s History Month”. In the UK, Annie Lennox led a march to raise awareness in support of the global charity Women for Women. Since this moment, celebrities, businesses and individuals worldwide have come together each year to actively support the day.
This year’s theme, “Choose to Challenge”, highlights how each of us individually can choose to call out gender bias and inequality when we hear or see it. In addition, the theme calls on us all to choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements to collectively create a more inclusive world.
“From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge” – International Women’s Day, 2021