You might have seen International Women's Day mentioned in the media or heard friends talking about it.

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But what is this day for? When is it? Is it a celebration or a protest? Is there an equivalent International Men's Day? & what events will take place this year?

For more than a century people around the world have been marking 8 March as a special day for women.

Image source, Corbis / Hulton Deutsch
International Women's Day, also known as IWD for short, grew out of the labour movement to lớn become an annual event recognised by the United Nations.

The seeds were planted in 1908, when 15,000 women marched through thành phố new york demanding shorter working hours, better pay & the right lớn vote. A year later, the Socialist tiệc nhỏ of America declared the first National Woman's Day.

It was Clara Zetkin, a communist activist và advocate for women's rights, who suggested the creation of an international day. She put her idea lớn an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910 - và the 100 women there, from 17 countries, agreed khổng lồ it unanimously.

International Women's Day was first celebrated in 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany và Switzerland. The centenary was celebrated in 2011, so this year we're technically celebrating the 111th.

Things were made official in 1975 when the United Nations started celebrating the day. The first theme adopted (in 1996) was "Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future".

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International Women's Day has become a date to celebrate how far women have come in society, politics and in economics, while the political roots of the day mean strikes & protests are organised khổng lồ raise awareness of continued inequality.

Image source, Getty Images

It wasn't formalised until a wartime strike in 1917, when Russian women demanded "bread và peace"; four days into the strike the tsar was forced to lớn abdicate & the provisional government granted women the right khổng lồ vote.

The strike began on 8 March và this became the date that International Women's Day is celebrated.

Image source, Getty Images
Purple, green và white are the colours of IWD, according to the International Women's Day website.

"Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolises hope. White represents purity, albeit a controversial concept. The colours originated from the Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908," they say.

But it has only been marked since the 1990s và isn't recognised by the UN. People celebrate it in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the UK.

The day celebrates "the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities", according to the organisers, và aims to highlight positive role models, raise awareness of men's well-being, & improve gender relations. The theme for 2021 was Better relations between men and women.

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