ext Tuesday marks International Women’s Day, where countries all over the world unite in the celebration of women’s achievements.
The March 8 event honours women of the past, present and future generations who have championed for change in gender equality and funding female-focused charities.
Under a new annual theme, organisers invite men and women to partake in campaign efforts to raise awareness.
Here’s what International Women’s Day is about and how you can get involved:
What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
Origins in women’s suffrage have evolved into a day of celebration and advancement of women’s rights.
How did International Women’s Day begin?
The first official International Women’s Day was in 1975 when it was recognised by the United Nations (UN).
But its origins began earlier in 1908 when a women’s rights march in New York City saw 15,000 people advocating for better pay and voting rights.
IWD was then commemorated in the United States on February 28, 1909 with countries like Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland joining the occasion in 1911.
Clara Zetkin suggested the event to be taken global at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910.
The day has since been marked annually on March 8.
What is the theme this year for International Women’s Day?
The theme for the International Women’s Day 2022 was announced by UN Women in December: “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.”
A key mission this year is to advance gender equality in the time of the climate crisis through women’s leadership.
The hashtag #BreakTheBias is a focal point for this year’s campaign to raise awareness and rally for gender equality.
What’s happening on the day and in London?
A virtual panel with UN leaders, climate activists and celebrities will be hosted by the UN on Tuesday March 8 followed by musical performances.
Events will be held worldwide to mark the occasion.
At London’s Southbank Centre, the WOW – Women of the World returns as an in-person event being heralded as the ‘biggest, most comprehensive festival celebrating women, girls and non-binary people’, in 2022.
The event brings together activists, musicians, comedians and writers for three days of workshops and performances.
How can I get involved?
The IWD campaign is calling for people to send in images of themselves with their arms crossed in front of their chest to represent the #BreakTheBias theme this year.
The #IWD22 hashtag will also be used to unite conversations online.
You can show support by dressing in campaign colours purple, green and white to represent justice, dignity, hope and purity.
Resources on the IWD site signpost users to educational materials and women’s charities that help towards the global support for gender equality.
Do we still need an International Women’s Day?
Gender parity is about a century away, according to the World Economic Forum, which means this campaign is as much for future generations than it is for our own lifetimes.
On the IWD site, organisers said: “Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable and inclusive.
“Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.”