international women's day

What to Know About International Women’s Day

Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Last year on March 8, many women did … nothing, for once. To prove the importance of women’s contributions to the world, women across the globe (including we here at the Cut) went on strike for A Day Without Women. Organized by the people behind the Women’s March, the strike was scheduled for March 8, International Women’s Day. Now, a year later, it’s time to pick up our protest signs once again. Here is what we know about the day and its events so far.

Save the Date: March 8

International Women’s Day will be on Thursday, March 8, this year, so get your empowerment Instagrams ready.

The Theme

This year, the women behind International Women’s Day are asking you to #PressForProgress. This means fighting back against gender parity in any way possible. The IWD website includes examples of ways women can press for progress like, “challenge stereotypes and bias,” “forge positive visibility of women,” and “influence others’ beliefs/actions.”

The History of IWD

According to BBC, in 1908 15,000 women marched in NYC in demand of better work hours and pay, as well as the right to vote. The Socialist Party of America announced the first National Women’s Day a year later. Then, in 1910, Clara Zetkin offered up the idea of an international women’s day at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, where the suggestion was unanimously agreed upon. Despite that date, the centenary of IWD was celebrated in 2011, making this year’s International Women’s Day technically the 107th.

In 1975, the United Nations got involved, making the day official. The first theme for IWD, “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future” came in 1996.

How to Participate

Since IWD lands on a Thursday this year, many marches and events are taking place the weekend before so working women can participate. Here are some of the events happening around the world. You can check out IWD’s event page to see what’s going on near you.

New York

The International Women’s Strike will take place on March 8. According to the Facebook event, the march is organized by “a coalition representing dozens of grassroots groups and labor organizations. The rally will begin at 4 p.m. in Washington Square Park and participants will make their way to Zuccotti park, stopping along the way for performances in front of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, the Varick Street Immigration Detention Center, Stonewall, City Hall, the African Burial Ground, and the former slave market.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles will be celebrating IWD early with the International Women’s Day March and Rally on Saturday, March 3. The event, which boasts the slogan, “Uprising: Forward to a Feminist Future,” will begin at the Metropolitan Detention Center at 12 p.m., and make its way to City Hall.

Washington D.C.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the U.S. Department of State is hosting an International Women’s Day Forum from March 6–7 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The event, “Partner with Purpose: Business for Gender Equality,” will gather the “business community, civil society, and government representatives to advance women’s empowerment around the globe,” according to the website.


London’s IWD march will take place on March 4 from 12–3:30. The #March4Women will begin at Millbank, London, and will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of British women gaining the right to vote.

What to Know About International Women’s Day