International Women’s Day (IWD) has always had a dual function: to challenge injustice and gender inequality on the one hand, and on the other, to celebrate the achievements and successes of women the world over. The date to mark in your calendar is 8 March. Each year the event has a different theme and this year, International Women’s Day 2021 has the theme Choose To Challenge.
In this IVI blog article, we take a look at the aims of the movement, the history and development of the event over the years and how it is celebrated in different countries. We also aim to make our own contribution to raising awareness and above all to join the worldwide celebration of women. Some are internationally famous heroines, some are the unsung but nevertheless heroic people who may only make their mark on the world through their work, their families and through the people who love them.
What is the aim of International Women’s Day 2021?
International Women’s Day has an overarching objective to highlight and celebrate the achievements of women across the social, cultural, political and economic spheres. This naturally includes a drive towards achieving more gender equality in all walks of working and social life. In particular, the idea is to:
- Celebrate the achievements of women everywhere;
- Engage in activities aimed at raising awareness about women’s equality issues;
- Lobby in relevant environments for further progress towards gender equality;
- Fundraise to support charities which have a focus on women.
In addition to its general aims, the theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is Choose to Challenge. This is open to any kind of interpretation or supportive action, and aims simply to raise individual awareness and alertness to the inequalities that can manifest themselves in day-to-day life. As examples of personal awareness raising, IWD suggests:
- Being alert to our own thoughts, actions and assumptions in relation to gender equality;
- Challenging and calling out gender bias and inequality whenever we encounter it;
- Showing respect for women in every walk of life and celebrating their achievements.
How did it all start out?
The genesis of what has become International Women’s Day was over 100 years ago. In its early manifestations, it was more about campaigning for fairness, and over the years the ambition and scope has expanded to include celebration of women’s achievements. Here are some of the landmark dates in the history of IWD:
- 1908 A protest march took place in New York with 15,000 women demanding improved pay and conditions as well as voting rights.
- 1909 The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the USA on 28 February.
- 1910 The second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen, which included women from 17 countries.
- 1911 International Women’s Day was marked for the first time in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland on 19 March.
- 1913-14 Women in Russia observed their first International Women’s Day on 23 February. This date in the Julian calendar translated to 8 March in the Gregorian calendar in use outside Russia. 8 March has been universally adopted as the IWD date ever since.
How do we celebrate International Women’s Day?
There is no agreed standard or mandate about how the day should be celebrated. Countries and individuals are free to observe the occasion in whichever way they choose. Here are some examples:
- China: 8 March is a national holiday, with many employers giving women the afternoon off for celebration. It is also marked by giving gifts to women.
- Germany: Only one state, Berlin, recognises the day as a public holiday so women in Berlin get the day off on 8 March while their counterparts in the rest of Germany remain at work.
- Italy: La Festa della Donna is celebrated primarily around the beautiful sunshine-coloured blooms of mimosa. The flowers are seen as a symbol of female sensitivity and strength.
- Spain: The focus tends to be on protest, for example in 2018, over 5 million working women took part in a 24-hour strike in protest of the gender pay gap and sexual discrimination at work.
- USA: The whole of March is designated as Women’s History Month and each year there is a Presidential Proclamation to honour the achievements of American women.
How does IVI mark International Women’s Day?
For us at IVI, International Women’s Day 2021 is a great opportunity to celebrate so many of our patients for their refusal to give up on their dreams. We honour them for their determination, faith and persistence, and their willingness to Choose To Challenge their fertility problems. Here are some of the messages from the people who, for us, are the real heroines and heroes of this special day:
- After many years of struggling to have a child, IVI Madrid with their fabulous team of Diana, Carlos, Gabriel, Noemi….etc., helped my dream come true. You have made me so happy!
- Thank you for helping us have Isabella … being a father is the most incredible thing I have done in my life.
- We cannot express how grateful we are to IVI clinic in Madrid for making our dreams come true after the birth of our second daughter Isabel.
- D is nearly 7 months pregnant … I look at her now and think how wonderful it is that the IVI clinic has made this possible for our family. We will always be so grateful to them for making it possible to add yet another granddaughter to our family!
Contact us at IVI
In these unusual times, we’re happy to say that, within the regulatory framework of each country where we have clinics, we are still open. Our clinics operate with all the appropriate security protocols to protect our patients and our employees.
Happy International Women’s Day! If you are Choosing to Challenge infertility, you can get in touch with us through our online contact form and remember, never give up on your dreams!