Happy International Women’s Day!


Around the world events for International Women’s Day (or IWD) take place. It has been observed since the early 1900s and is now celebrated each year on March 8. There’s an equivalent event for men in November too, which is observed in over 60 countries.

Some IWD’s have a political heritage; others are more about showing love for the women in your life.

Either way, it’s about women and girls joining together!

So, let’s run through some of the history of the day, as well as popular traditions around the world (including how speak some celebratory Russian!). Plus, we’ll tell you how you can get involved with the official UN theme this year.


A Worldwide Event

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

From this one event, other marches started springing up around the world on March 8, including in Russia, Denmark and England. Women’s Day has since become known in some parts of the world for its global marches to combat gender inequality.

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, the day is more about spending time with the women you love and live with. It’s about appreciation. In Russia, men and women give flowers, poetry and chocolate to their mothers, wives, grandmothers, sisters and daughters.

Similar traditions happen In Italy, where men giving yellow mimosas 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.

And why not start a great Russian tradition in your own office? Companies usually give the women who work flowers… and during lunch it’s common to have cake and champagne.

Yes, please!

When Russians want to congratulate someone on March 8 they say:

· С восьмы́м ма́рта! [s vahs‘-MIHM MAHR-ta] I congratulate you on March 8th!

· C Междунаро́дным же́нским днём! [s mehzhdoonuh-ROHD-nim ZHENSkeem dnyom] I congratulate you on International Women’s Day!

Why not try it out!


IWD 2017: #BeBoldForChange

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.

2017 is focusing on the ‘Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030’. This is due to the fact that the World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186.


You can get involved in IWD 2017 in a number of ways: why not make a pledge, organise your own event and join the conversation online with #BeBoldForChange and #IWD2017.

Or find a local event happening near you…

If you’re in Brisbane you could take part in a fun run to raise money, Dubai are holding a literature festival, Tokyo are hosting a Spotlight in Japan. You can even join a global summit on healthcare online. Phew, so much to do!

So, however you celebrate: Happy International Women’s Day. You go, girls!

Harriet is busuu’s Senior English Language Expert. She is from a little village near Stratford-upon-Avon, England, and studied French and Spanish at university in Southampton. Then she went to live in France where she started teaching English. She loves cooking and eating food from different cuisines and singing with her choir.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here