UN International Women’s Day (IWD) began in 1908 when 15,000 women workers in New York marched through the city demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. In 1909, in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first Woman's Day was observed across the United States on 28 February. Then, in 1910, a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands.
Since then, International Women's Day has become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries. The United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women's rights and participation in social, political and economic processes for many years, with 1975 being designated as 'International Women's Year' by the United Nations. Many women's organisations and governments around the world observe IWD on 8 March, often by holding large-scale events honouring women's advancement while continuing to push for greater equality with men in every aspect of life. The UN Commission on the Status of Women now takes place every year at the UN Headquarters in New York, around IWD. It examines progress made on equality around the world and co-ordinates efforts towards equality for the future. Many UK NGOs attend CSW in New York, and WNC is also represented.
More information on International Women’s Day can also be accessed on the Government Equalities Office website.