The Google Doodle for today celebrates International Women’s Day, AKA International Working Women’s Day. It is an annual holiday that takes place on March 8.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. It’s a Day for Investing in Women & Girls
International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, and today’s Google Doodle is present in everyone regardless of observance.
According to the official United Nations website for the holiday, International Women’s Day is:
…a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.
The first observance of the day was in 1908.
2. It Started as a Socialist Holiday
The first Women’s Day was held in Chicago in 1908. World March of Women writes:
The first “Woman’s Day” was held on the 3rd May 1908, in Chicago, presided by Lorine S. Brown, documented by the monthly newspaper “The Socialist Woman”. The commemoration was held in Garrick Theather, with the participation of 1500 women that “applauded the demands for economical and political equality of women, on the day dedicated to the female workers’ causes.” This day was dedicated to the female workers’ causes, denouncing the exploitation and oppression of women, but defending, principally, the female vote. Equality between men and women, women’s autonomy, and, consequently, the women’s vote, was defended, inside and outside of the party.
The earliest observance of International Women’s Day took place a year later on February 28, 1909, in New York City. It was organized by the Socialist Party of America in memory of the 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, whose members were protesting poor work conditions.
Women’s Watch writes that a year later in the capital of Denmark, the Socialist International met in Copenhagen and established Women’s Day. With the intent on being international in nature, Women’s Day was supposed to honor the movement off women’s rights and to create support for achieving international suffrage for women. This was before women had the right to vote in many countries, including America, which didn’t guarantee the right to women for voting until 1920 with the ratification of the 19th amendment.
The proposal for Women’s Day was greeted with unanimous approval by attendees at the conference, but no fixed date was chosen for the observance.
3. It Was First Officially Held in 1914
The first modern International Women’s Day was finally held in 1914, four years after its conception. March 8, 1914 was chosen because it was a Sunday, which a majority of women would have off from work and thus would be able to participate in marches and other events.
March 8 was then chosen to be the date for International Women’s Day. In 2015 it just happens to be a Sunday, also.
4. The UN Proclaimed it as a Holiday in 1977
In 1977, International Women’s Day was first observed as a global event by western nations when the United Nations General Assembly invited its members to dedicate March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights.
Since 1996, the United Nations has assigned a theme to every annual International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!
5. It’s 2015 International Women’s Day
As stated above, the 2015 theme for International Women’s Day is Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!
It will especially be dedicated to the Beijing Platform for Action’s 20th anniversary.
According to the UN, the Beijing Platform for Action was when:
…an unprecedented 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists streamed into Beijing for the opening of the Fourth World Conference on Women in September 1995. They were remarkably diverse, coming from around the globe, but they had a single purpose in mind: gender equality and the empowerment of all women, everywhere.
Two weeks of political debate followed, heated at times, as representatives of 189 governments hammered out commitments that were historic in scope. Thirty thousand non-governmental activists attended a parallel Forum and kept the pressure on, networking, lobbying and training a global media spotlight. By the time the conference closed, it had produced the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights.
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