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International Women's Day 2023: How to #EmbraceEquity

The event has been celebrated in some form for more than 100 years.

Women around the world are celebrating International Women's Day — and calling for equity. 

The event has been celebrated in some form for more than 100 years, starting in the early 1900s as women fought for the right to vote and better working conditions in the industrialized world. Today, millions of people are expected to take to the streets in rallies, demonstrations and celebrations around the world. 

MORE: International Women's Day 2023: What's happening around the world?

This year's theme for International Women's Day is #EmbraceEquity — a call to recognize "that each person has different circumstances, and (allocate) the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome," the International Women's Day website states

"Equity isn't just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have," the website says, noting that participants can share or send in images embracing themselves as part of the theme. "A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society's DNA."

For the United Nations, the 2023 theme for International Women's Day is "DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality," highlighting gender gaps in STEM education and careers — and calling attention to the online harassment many women face.

International Women's Day is also a reminder of the long road ahead. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned Monday that women’s rights are being “abused, threatened and violated” around the world and gender equality won’t be achieved for 300 years without urgent action. 

Credit: AP
Women activists shout a slogan during a rally celebrating International Women's Day in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

He pointed to Afghanistan where “women and girls have been erased from public life,” said girls going to school risk kidnapping and assault in many places, and noted troubling global statistics in education and tech industries. 

When is International Women's Day? 

International Women's Day is on Wednesday, March 8, 2023. It is celebrated on March 8 each year.

What is the history of International Women's Day?

The first National Women's Day was celebrated on February 28, 1909. The United Nations says it was designated by the Socialist Party of America to honor women in the garment industry who went on strike in New York to protest working conditions. 

In 1910, attendees at the second International Conference of Working Women, a gathering of women from activist and political organizations in Copenhagen, approved the idea of an international day for women. Several European countries observed the day the next year on March 19. The earliest events around International Women's Day included rallies for the right to vote and against gender discrimination, as well as women's anti-war protests and strikes in Russia. 

March 8 has been the holiday's official date since 1914; organizers moved it to match up with Russian women's commemorations on Feb. 23 on the Gregorian calendar. 

The UN officially recognized International Women's Day in 1975. The celebration isn't a federal holiday in the U.S., though March is officially Women's History Month. According to the International Women's Day website, nearly 30 countries have adopted the day as a national holiday.

The International Women's Day website provides a detailed timeline of the day's history.


TEGNA staff contributed to this report. 

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