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Every year for the past century the 8 March has been recognised as International Women’s Day. Many governments and organisations mark the occasion by celebrating the role and rights of women across the world.

Historically, women and girls have not been treated as equal to men and boys and across the world women still face discrimination because of their gender.

International Women’s Day was first celebrated more than one hundred years ago, in 1911. The day was inspired by the work of thousands of suffragists, who were campaigning for more rights for women, including the right to vote.

The United Nations officially recognised International Women’s Day in 1977 and some countries recognise International Women’s Day as a public holiday including in China, Russia and Uganda. The struggle for women’s rights began long before International Women’s Day was established though. For example, only since the suffragette movement in the early 20th Century did women get the right to vote here in the UK.

The symbol for International Women’s Day is a female gender symbol. It is usually accompanied by the colours purple, green and white. According to the International Women’s Day website, purple stands for dignity and justice, green for hope, and white for purity. “The colours originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908.”

The day’s purpose varies by country. In some, it’s a day of protest, while in others, it’s a means to promote gender equality. In some countries, International Women’s Day is observed as a national holiday.

IWD is recognized as an official national holiday in Armenia, Belarus, Cambodia, Cuba, Georgia, Laos, Mongolia, Montenegro, Russia, Uganda, Ukraine and Vietnam.

In certain countries like Albania, Macedonia, Serbia and Uzbekistan, Women’s Day has been combined with Mother’s Day, a merger to highlight the importance of women as mothers.

In China, many women are given a half-day off work, while the Italian Festa della Donna is celebrated by the giving of mimosa blossoms.

Happy International Women’s Day for 2024!