5 Things You Didn’t Know about International Women’s Day

March 8th every year is dedicated to recognizing women, and the struggle for women’s rights throughout history. This day, International Women’s Day (IWD), is an internationally recognized occasion that is celebrated in countries all over the world. Here are some things you may not know about this special day:

1) History: The official declaration of IWD came from the United Nations in 1977, as they designated March 8th a celebration of women’s achievements. However, the first internationally recognized “women’s day” came years prior, in 1911 as several countries banded together in protests and rallies for women’s rights. The very first unofficial event was held in the United States in 1909. The occasion was inspired by hundreds of female garment workers who protested poor working conditions, and was celebrated by thousands of women also demanding equal rights.   


2) Social Movements: IWD continues to serve as a platform for women across the globe to organize and protest for the causes they care about. The day sees thousands of conferences, festivals, rallies, protests, and gatherings each year. In the United States, in 2012, a nationwide strike was organized inviting women to skip work to disrupt societies’ daily routines. Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar, hosts carnivals and demonstrations of female empowerment to commemorate IWD.


3) Flowers: On IWD, many cultures compel men to gift the women in their lives beautiful flowers. This tradition originates in Italy, where Italian feminists chose the mimosa flower as a symbol of strength and sensitivity. The duality of the flower is a representation of IWD’s goals of both celebrating women’s achievements and recognizing the ongoing mission towards gender equality.


4) Public Holiday: While IWD is celebrated in over 100 countries, it is actually considered an official public holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. Interestingly, in China, Madagascar, and Nepal, the holiday is offered only to women.


5) Rwanda has the highest female representation in government in the world, with women holding 61% of seats in lower parliament. Despite this, women everywhere are still working toward greater equality at all levels. Every day is IWD at Resonate, where the women we work with are making their dreams come true. As a result of our workshops, 45% of participants take on new leadership roles, 38% start businesses, 24% get a new job or academic opportunity. Resonate women are contributing to IWD 2019’s mission of #balanceforbetter, or building a world that is gender balanced in all areas: work, school, and life.


Happy International Women’s Day from all of us at Resonate!


Happy International Women’s Day from all of us at Resonate!

Dalia Elmelige