International Women’s Day: How to take part in this year’s theme

International Women’s Day: How to take part in this year’s theme

This month marks an annual holiday celebrated around the globe: International Women’s Day (IWD).

International Women’s Day was officially recognised by the United Nations in 1975. Since then, it has gone on to celebrate the monumental impact that women have made around the world. After being recognised by the UN, the holiday - which always falls on 8 March - has been celebrated by more than 80 countries worldwide. The day has also become a major part of the women’s rights movement and helped create conversations about gender biases.

The holiday always falls eight days after the beginning of Women’s History Month, a 31-day celebration of women who’ve strengthened and shaped different events throughout world history. For this year’s International Women’s Day, the UN and the IWD’s official website have set themes that push towards achieving gender equality.

Here’s everything you need to know about International Women’s Day 2024, from the theme to different ways to celebrate.

When was International Women’s Day founded?

Back in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City to demand for change in society, according to IWD’s official website. These women demanded shorter working hours, better pay, and voting rights.

The first National Women’s Day was observed on 28 February 1909. One year later, a woman named Clara Zetkin - a member of the Social Democratic Party in Germany - suggested the idea of a Women’s Day that would be held “every year in every country” on the same day “to press for their demands.”

After an agreement was made in Denmark in 1911, International Women’s Day was honoured for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland on 19 March. It was later moved to 8 March in 1914 and has been celebrated on the same day since. IWD was officially recognised by the United Nations in 1975.

What is the theme of IWD 2024?

The International Women’s Day website has announced that this year’s theme is “Inspire Inclusion”. The goal of the campaign is to “inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion” so that “we forge a better world”.

“And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment,” the website added. “Collectively, let’s forge a more inclusive world for women.”

The site also noted that the campaign is committed to inspiring inclusion, with discussions like: “When women aren’t present, we must ask, ‘If not, why not?’” or “When women are discriminated against, we must call out poor practice.”

The United Nations also has an annual theme for the occasion, with this year’s being: “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”. The campaign acknowledged that “achieving gender equality and women’s well-being in all aspects of life is more crucial than ever,” especially if we’d like to “create prosperous economies and a healthy planet”.

“However, we are facing a key challenge: the alarming $360 billion annual deficit in gender-equality measures by 2030,” the website added.

The page also highlighted five key areas to focus on this year: Investing in women, a human rights issue; ending poverty; implementing “gender-responsive financing”; shifting to a “green economy and care society”; and supporting feminist change-makers.

How do I take part in IWD this year?

IWD’s official website recommends one way to take part in this year’s theme is to “understand, value, and seek out the inclusion of women and girls”. In addition, “sharing this knowledge, support and encouragement with others is key”.

The organisation also encourages social media users to share a picture of themselves doing the IWD #InspireInclusion pose, in which you bring your hands together to form the shape of a heart. Along with using the #IWD2024 and #InspireInclusion hashtags when posting photos on social media, IWD urges people to submit the image and a statement to potentially be featured in the IWD gallery.

The UN has shared different ways to take part in its IWD theme, “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”. For example, the organisation has posted a package of social media messages that you can share on your page on 8 March.

One GIF featured in the social media package highlights the theme, as it reads: “Investing in women benefits the entire society.” Other graphics include statistics, one of which reads: “An additional $360 billion per year is needed to achieve gender equality.” When sharing these images, or any photos that highlight the UN’s theme of IWD, you can caption your post with the #InvestInWomen hashtag.

On 8 March, you can also watch the official UN International Women’s Day commemoration, which will be held in the ECOSOC Chamber. The event will be live-streamed from 10am to 11.30am EST on IWD.