International Women’s Day (IWD) has long been celebrated on 8th March to commemorate women’s achievements – from political to social – while serving as a call for gender equality.
The seeds of the first annual event were sown in 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. A year later, the Socialist Party of America declared the first National Woman’s Day.
The idea to make the day international came from Clara Zetkin, who suggested the idea in 1910 at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. There were 100 women present from 17 countries, and there, they agreed on her suggestion unanimously. The following year, the event was celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, under the guise of an international day for women.
Tomorrow, the world will once again be set abuzz with celebrations surrounding this years #BalanceForBetter theme, which calls for a balanced world with professional and social equality. But while there are many events that seem to serve a wider purpose, like a panel discussion on female empowerment at King’s College featuring the Duchess of Sussex, Annie Lennox and the former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard, a growing wave of brands are apparently intent on mining IWD as a marketing opportunity.