International Women’s Day is prominent worldwide

An International Women’s Day poster from 1914FRIDAY, MARCH 8: For more than a century, International Women’s Day has long been associated with campaigns for women’s voting rights, civil rights—and, back in its earliest roots, with Socialist movements as well. So, given the legacy of our Cold War era, the observance is “prominent worldwide”—but usually less so in the U.S. In fact, last year, the Washington Post published a story about International Women’s Day only after Google reminded everyone of the occasion in one of its special animated graphics. Look for another colorful Google reminder on Friday!

As usual, headlines about preparations are mostly from other parts of the world, highlighting the 2013 theme: ‘The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum’:

INDIA: One event planned in India is a women’s film festival.
EUROPE: The European Parliament is planning specially themed events, as well. The Guardian chimed in by putting together a story, with the help of readers, of the top 25 African women to watch in 2013.
JAMAICA: Public conversations about women’s rights already are showing up in Jamaican media.
UNITED STATES: You’re reading one of the few holiday stories you’ll find in American news media, right now.

(So a note to our readers: Here’s another good reason to tell friends about our Holidays & Festivals column. You’ll find such culturally diverse news here, first.)

The official International Women’s Day website also is helping people find out about local events. The truth is that, according to the IWD planning group, there are more than 150 local observances planned across the U.S. That number is dwarfed, though, by the more than 500 events across the UK and Canada. Help alter that number by taking part in one of the 10 activities suggested by the Washington Post last year! Among the ideas: join the hundreds of women marching on bridges to mimic the Join Me on the Bridge campaign, wear red lipstick or donate to a women’s charity. Looking for some inspiration? CNN put together a few words of wisdom from top women leaders last month.

According to the IWD: Every March 8, International Women’s Day is a global occasion to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday. From the beginning, International Women’s Day has honored the work of the original Suffragettes who campaigned for women’s voting rights. The first “National Women’s Day” was held in the U.S. in 1909. A plan for an international observance was established in 1910. The first International Women’s Day event was run in 1911.

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