1910: In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women's clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women's Day was the result.
1911: Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women's Day (IWD) was honored the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March.
1913: In 1913 following discussions, International Women's Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since.
1918 - 1999: Since its birth in the socialist movement, International Women's Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. For decades, IWD has grown from strength to strength annually. For many years the United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women's rights and participation in social, political and economic processes. 1975 was designated as 'International Women's Year' by the United Nations.
2000+: IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.
While, gains have been made on women’s issues, women are still not paid equally as compared to their male counterparts, they are still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Lack of access to education, early marriage, maternal mortality and violence against women and girls remains issues that have hampered the realization of equality of women in all areas of work and life in many parts of the world.
As we celebrate the achievements of women, sustained advocacy and committed leadership is needed more than ever to ensure equality and equity for women in all corners of the world.