On 8th March, many nations across the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day, originally called International Working Women’s Day. On this day, women all around the world are recognised and celebrated for their achievements. It is a day to look back on the past struggles, battles and accomplishments but also to think ahead and prepare for the future and the opportunities awaiting future generations.
Origins of Women’s Day
The first day to celebrate Women’s Day was in the United States of America, following a declaration of the American Socialist Party: National Woman’s Day on 28th February 1909.
Then in 1910, in Copenhagen (Denmark), the Socialist International established a Woman’s Day to pay tribute to women and to help in obtaining universal suffrage for women.
Following the decision taken in Copenhagen, Germany, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland celebrated International Women’s Day for the first time, on 19th March 1911. Women demonstrated for their rights to vote, to work, for access to professional training and for the end to workplace discrimination.
Russian women celebrated their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday of February 1913 within the framework of a pacifist movement on the eve of World War I.
With two million Russian soldiers killed during the war, the last Sunday of February 1917 was again chosen by women in Russia as a protest day for “bread and peace”.
1975 is decreed by UNO as the International Woman Year and UN countries start celebrating International Women’s Day on 8th March.
Key messages and objectives
• Giving rights to all women across the world to exercise their liberties and their choices, and to understand their rights
• Recognition of men and women as equals in the society, in the work place, and at home
• The right to live without violence
• The right to get education
• The right to take part of decision-making
• The right to get an equal salary for an equal day’s work
8th March: Celebrations worldwide
In France, the UK and Germany, Women’s Day sees the organisation of numerous events by women as well as small and large associations and events. It is an occasion to analyse progress made and highlight the remaining inequalities, in the workplace and beyond and a general celebrating of appreciation and love towards women for their economic, political and social achievements.
In many Eastern European countries such as Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Macedonia, Moldovia, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine, the custom is to celebrate women and offer them flowers: men traditionally give small presents to the women in their lives (mothers, daughters, wives, girlfriends, friends, colleagues…).
In countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, 8th March is a bit of an equivalent to Mother’s Day, with children offering small gifts to their mothers and grandmothers.
In Russia, the Woman Day is historical and an extremely important National Day, a day to shower mothers, wives and girlfriends with presents, flower, perfumes and chocolates.
С праздником 8 марта ! (Happy 8th March Day! in Russian)
In countries like Italy and Portugal, women organise women-only dinners and parties on the night of March 8th.
International Women’s Day on TV5MONDE
Throughout the whole month of March, International Women’s Day is celebrated on TV5MONDE, with a very special programming where women take centre stage: inspiring documentaries, movies and specially selected programmes such as films featuring Michèle Morgan, as a tribute to a great independent French actress, deceased 20th December 2016.
Find out more about the programmes here
United Nations, Journée Internationale de la femme 8 mars http://www.un.org/fr/events/womensday/history.shtml
Jours Fériés, Date de la journée de la femme https://www.joursferies.fr/journee-de-la-femme.php
Guide des Fêtes – Journée Internationale des Femmes http://www.guidedesfetes.com/journee-internationale-des-femmes-148-f.html
Russia.net, 8 mars - Journée internationale de la femme en Russie ! http://www.russie.net/8-mars-Journee-internationale-de-la-femme-en-Russie
Every year on 20th March, countries around the world celebrate Francophonie through cultural events honouring the French language.This year the Institut français and Francophonie UK present the national final of the Joutes Oratoires Lycéennes, concluding months of French debating competitions involving 100's of 6th form students across the UK. This event is followed by a screening of the documentary Speak-Up (À voix haute – La force de la parole) by Stéphane de Freitas. The event starts at 3:30pm on 20th March, free but booking is required