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International Women's Day (IWD), is a major day of global celebration of women. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political and social achievements.
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When is International Women's Day?
International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day is marked on the 8th of March every year.
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Who is this holiday observed by?
Observed by Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Italy, Israel, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Norway,Pakistan, Poland, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Spain, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia
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What type of Holiday is this? International Observance
Civil awareness day,  Women and girls day,  Anti-sexist day
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Origin of this holiday
Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In many regions, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

The first IWD was observed on 19 March 1911 in Germany following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. The idea of having an international women's day was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that led to protests over working conditions

In 1910, Second International held the first international women's conference in Copenhagen (in the labour-movement building located at Jagtvej 69, which until recently housed Ungdomshuset). An 'International Women's Day' was established. It was suggested by the important German Socialist Clara Zetkin, although no date was specified. The following year, 1911, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, on March 19. In the West, International Women's Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the united Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women's Rights and International Peace.

Demonstrations marking International Women's Day in Russia proved to be the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Lenin to make it an official holiday in the Soviet Union, and it was established, but was a working day until 1965. On May 8, 1965 by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet International Women's Day was declared a non working day in the USSR "in commemoration of the outstanding merits of Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Fatherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear, and also marking the great contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples, and the struggle for peace. But still, women's day must be celebrated as are other holidays."
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In Modern Culture
The day is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus] Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia.

In some countries, such as Cameroon, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Latvia the day is not a public holiday, but is widely observed nonetheless.

On this day it is customary for men to give the women in their lives - mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc. - flowers and small gifts. In some countries (such as Romania) it is also observed as an equivalent of Mother's Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

In Armenia, after the collapse of the Soviet Union celebrations of IWD were abandoned. Instead, April 7 was introduced as state holiday of ‘Beauty and Motherhood’. The new holiday immediately got popular among Armenians, as it commemorates one of the main holidays of the Armenian Church, the Annunciation. However, people still kept celebrating IWD on March 8 as well. Public discussion held on the topic of two ‘Women’s Days’ in Armenia resulted in the recognition of the so called ‘Women’s Month’ which is the period between March 8 and April 7.

In Italy, to celebrate the day, men give yellow mimosas to women. Yellow mimosas and chocolate are also one of the most common March 8 presents in Russia and Albania.

In many countries, such as In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia, the custom of giving women flowers still prevails. Women sometimes get gifts from their employers too. Schoolchildren often bring gifts for their teachers as well.

In countries like Portugal groups of women usually celebrate on the night of 8 March in "women-only" dinners and parties.

In India, IWD holds a lot of significance. Many celebrations are held during the day.

In Pakistan working women in formal and informal sectors celebrate International Women's Day every year to commemorate their ongoing struggle for due rights, despite facing many cultural and religious restrictions. Some women working for change in society use IWM to help the movement for women's rights. In Poland, for instance, every IWD includes large feminist demonstrations in major cities.

In 1975, which had been designated as International Women’s Year, the United Nations gave official sanction to and began sponsoring International Women's Day.

The 2005, Congress (conference) of the British Trades Union Congress overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for IWD to be designated a public holiday in the United Kingdom.

Since 2005, IWD has been celebrated in Montevideo, either on the principal street, 18 de Julio, or alternatively through one of its neighbourhoods. The event has attracted much publicity due to a group of female drummers, La Melaza, who have performed each year.

Today, many events are held by women's groups around the world. The UK-based marketing company Aurora hosts a free worldwide register of IWD local events so that women and the media can learn about local activity. Many governments and organizations around the world support IWD.

There is a map of IWD events available at this location, for women's groups around the world.
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Apocrypha
A popular apocryphal story which surfaced in French Communist circles, claimed women from clothing and textile factories had staged a protest on 8 March 1857 in New York City. The story alleged that garment workers were protesting against very poor working conditions and low wages and were attacked and dispersed by police. It was claimed that this event led to a rally in commemoration of its 50th anniversary in 1907. Temma Kaplan explains that "neither event seems to have taken place, but many Europeans think March 8, 1907 inaugurated International Women's Day." Speculating about the origins of this 1857 legend, Liliane Kandel and Françoise Picq suggested it was likely that (in recent times) some felt it opportune to detach International Women's Day from its basis in Soviet history and ascribe to it a more 'international' origin which could be painted as more ancient than Bolshevism and more spontaneous than a decision of Congress or the initiative of those women affiliated to the Party.
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How To Celebrate National Womens Day

1) - Plan A Women Only Theme Party
First visit our party planning section where we help you decide the what, when, where and why's of planning a party.

2) - Get together with your best female friends
Enjoy lunch together, meet at a coffee shop for cappichinos, meet at your home for coffee, cake and good conversation. Our our favorite is sharing tea time at a tea room.

3) - Celebrate Women's Day with an outing
All women love shopping so visit the nearest mall and enjoy some quality time together. Shopping, sharing and having lunch sounds like a full day of female fun. 

4) - Send National Women's Day Greetings
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This Holiday is Related To:
Mother's Day
Universal Children's Day
International Men's Day

See Also:
International Observance








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Resources:  This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article IWD / and other related pages. Top photo International_Women_Day-2010-02.jpg.
Internationalwomensday.com - Outside links, references and more resources; listed on right side of page.
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Outside Links, References & Resources
Differences between International Women's Day and International Men's Day

United Nations page on the background of the IWD

The London Paper

Support the goals of International Womens Day

Women and war - International Committee of the Red Cross

International Museum of Women

International Women's Day 2007 - United Nations web site

International Women's Day Celebration

Sewing a better future on International Women’s Day

Towards International Women's Day 2011

Wings & Dreams: 4 Elements of a New Feminism

International Women’s Day Marked Around the World