How to Celebrate International Women's Day 2023

November 10, 2023

All around the world, events for International Women’s Day (or IWD) are taking place. 

This important day has been observed since the early 1900s and is now celebrated each year on March 8. 

In some countries, IWDs have a political heritage; in others, it’s just about showing love for the women in your life. Either way, it’s about women and girls joining together!

Let’s take a look at some of the history of the day, as well as popular traditions around the world. Plus, we’ll tell you how you can get involved with the official UN theme this year.

IWD: A Worldwide Event

The earliest International Women’s Day event was held on February 28, 1909, in New York to remember those involved in a strike the year before. For that first ever IWD, 15,000 women took to the streets!

From this one event, other marches started springing up around the world on March 8. In the next few years, it spread to Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, and onward. Women’s Day has since become known in some parts of the world for its global marches to combat gender inequality and today, events are held all over the globe, from Australia and New Zealand to Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, and beyond.

A march like the 1975 Icelandic women’s strike was so effective it paved the way for the first female president in the world, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir!

Celebrate the Women You Love

In some countries, International Women’s Day is more about spending time with the women you love and live with. It’s about appreciation. For example, in Italy, men give yellow mimosa flowers to women. Meanwhile, in Portugal, groups of women usually celebrate on the night with ‘women-only’ dinners and parties. Kind of like Galentine’s Day.

Say Happy International Women’s Day in Different Languages

However, and wherever you decide to mark the occasion, here’s how to say it.

  • In French: Bonne journée internationale des femmes!
  • In German: Alles Liebe zum Weltfrauentag!
  • In Italian: Buona festa della donna!
  • In Japanese: 国際女性デー楽しんで ! (Kokusai josei dē tanoshinde!)* 
  • In Spanish: Feliz Día Internacional de la Mujer!

*Worth noting: “Happy International Women’s Day” doesn’t translate directly into Japanese in a way that would sound natural to a Japanese speaker. This translation is “Enjoy International Women’s Day!” the way you might say “enjoy your day!” to someone heading to the beach or otherwise looking forward to the day. Depending on who you’re speaking to, you may want to use another Japanese phrase that makes sense in context.

IWD 2023: Embracing Equity

International Women’s Day is also a day where people unite to celebrate the achievements of women and call for greater gender equality around the world under an official theme thought up by the UN.

The theme for IWD 2023 is all about embracing equity. The aim of this year’s campaign is to spark a conversation about the differences between ‘equity’ and ‘equality’ and why “equal opportunities are no longer enough.” The idea being that equality alone can be exclusionary, while equity is more inclusive.

You can get involved in IWD 2023 in a lot of ways: make a pledge, organize your own event, and join the conversation online with #EmbraceEquity and #IWD2023. Or find a local event happening near you.

You can discuss equity and equality in the Netherlands, join an IWD-themed workout in Vancouver, take part in women’s history-themed events throughout March in New York, or attend a virtual event from anywhere in the world.

However you choose to celebrate, here’s to wishing you and Happy International Women’s Day 2023!

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