Livin' La Vida Lucia

What is International Women’s Day?

Purple Takes on a New Meaning

By Lucia Rossi

As someone who works in retail, International Women’s Day just seemed to be another holiday pushed by corporations so that people would spend money on gifts for women. However, when I looked into it more closely, it turned out to actually be a lot more.

Some countries treat International Women’s Day like a mixture of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, and I bet big companies wish we treated it like that here too. In actuality, it is not such a baseless holiday that’s about general love and appreciation. It is about the major triumphs and struggles that women have overcome, and still want to overcome. It is a day where there is political and social awareness worldwide that is represented by the color purple.

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International Women’s Day was first marked in 1911 by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and then spread to Russia, London and other parts of the world. Women fought for years for their right to vote and protested against sexual discrimination. In 1914, IWD was held on March 8, because it was a Sunday, and since then was celebrated on that date. Russian communists and socialist countries made it official in 1917, China did in 1922, and it was by the Spanish in 1936.


For the US, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 8 in 1977, the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace. Since then, every year on March 8, the UN give a specific theme to every IWD. This year’s theme is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality.” Although it’s an independent campaign, it’s creating a buzz by calling for pledges to take action to accelerate gender parity. You can be a part of the progress by using #PledgeForParity and pledge on  


According to their website, this day is a day to celebrate social, economic, cultural, and political achievements, as well as an opportunity to make more progress. The World Economic Forum predicted last year that the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until year 2133, their Pledge for Parity campaign is their way of trying to speed up the clock. If you click on their “Resources” tab, it gives a long list of different ways you could get involved and become more aware of what changes still need to come.


If you click on their “Events & activities” tab, you’ll find that there are all kinds of fun ways to celebrate in all the boroughs throughout the month. There are fundraisers, art shows, happy hours, musical performances, and benefit concerts.


This day is an official holiday in countries like Afghanistan, Armenia, Cambodia, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam, and a few others. However, it’s celebrated by women only in China, Macedonia, Madagascar, and Nepal. These countries treat the day like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day by giving women flowers and gifts. Although it is more political here, my initial suspicion about it being a corporate holiday wasn’t 100% false.


At the very least, everyone should watch the google video in honor of International Women’s Day. It is honestly, so moving and inspirational with some of the most influential women in the world. Their message of hope for the future of womankind made me tear up. I watched it and I thought, “This is the team I am a part of. I belong with this group because they are strong and are fighting to live an equal and happy life, even when the odds are against them.”  

I’ve never been more proud to be a woman.

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