Every year on March 8, one holiday takes the phrase “girl power” to a whole new—and global—level. It’s called International Women’s Day (or IWD), and it applauds the achievements of women all over the world. The holiday was born in 1911 when women in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland rallied together in support of women’s rights. It wasn’t until 1975, when the United Nations began sponsoring the event, that IWD started to gain recognition. Now, the day is officially observed in 27 countries across the globe.
From casual luncheons to large-scale fundraisers, there’s a whole spectrum of ways that each country celebrates IWD. Each year, a new theme is chosen for the holiday, and supporters globally are encouraged to participate in the festivities. There are more than 1,000 events to choose from; all you have to do is visit the International Women’s Day Events page to find one near you!
IWD is also a day to do something special for all of the influential women in your life. In many countries, women are given flowers (the most popular IWD symbol), candy, cards and gifts by their loved ones. Here are just a few fun and interesting International Women’s Day celebrations from around the world.
- In China, women get a half day off from work, and some even receive gifts from their bosses.
- Women in Pakistan take part in fun and friendly competitions, like flower arranging, acting and cooking contests.
- “Women at Work” in Islamabad is a five-day food, art and entertainment festival run entirely by women.
- Mothers in Turkmenistan who have eight or more children are awarded with a commemorative badge, which comes with some perks, like free dental care and public transportation.
- In Russia and Vietnam, husbands, boyfriends, employers and coworkers give flowers to the women they admire.