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Opinions of Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Columnist: Florence Boateng

Why is International Women’s Day celebrated?

Many women across the globe join in the celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) without knowing the history behind the celebration.

For over 100 years, International Women’s Day has been set aside to celebrate the economic, cultural, political and social achievements of women.

In the early 20th century, women became more active in their protests against oppression and gender inequality, leading marches and campaigns to demand equal rights.

During a conference of working women in 1910, Clara Zetkin of Germany’s Social Democratic Party proposed that a day be set aside every year across the world to celebrate women and reinforce their demands.

The proposal was ultimately accepted and put into practice starting in Germany and Europe and spreading across the world over the years.

The first International Women’s Day was observed 8 March, 1914, even though the celebration day was decided in 1910.

In 1975, the United Nations announced International Women’s Day as an official day of observance for all its member countries.

Years later, the world body also instituted annual themes to promote the celebration of the day such as “celebrating the past, Planning for the Future” and “World free of violence Against Women”.

This year’s theme is “Balance for Better”.

It is meant to promote a future in which both men and women are equal in all aspects of life.

According to the IWD website, purple is the internationally recognized colour to symbolize women whilst the combination of green, purple and white is meant to represent women’s equality.

Every country has its special tradition for celebrating the day.

In Italy, for example, the day is celebrated by giving women a mimosa blossom.

In Ghana IWD is usually celebrated with a speech event by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and supported by the media. This year's speeches were broadcast live by the media to raise awareness.

At Wisconsin, staff and students shared messages on social media and discussed women's issues during lectures.

You can celebrate the day by posting pictures on social media and use the hashtags #BalanceforBetter and #IWD 2019.

People also share pictures of the women in their lives to celebrate the day.

The day is not simply a celebration.

It is a call to action for everyone to continue to push for complete gender equality.

A happy International Women’s Day to everyone.

#Be Bold
#Be Strong