The Weekly

Everything you need to know about International Women's Day 2020

It's both a day to celebrate and take action.

By Alex Lilly
International Women's Day is a day to not only celebrate the awesome women and their achievements around the world, but to also support the largest movement for gender equality in the world.
On March 8, millions around the world will celebrate but did you know that every year comes with a different theme?
Let's take a look at what the 2020 message is this year, plus see how you can get involved on this great day.
What's this year's theme? (Image: Instagram @unwomen)

What is the theme for International Women's Day 2020?

Like last year, there are two themes: the official International Women's Day one which is #EachForEqual and the 2020 global IWD theme of Generation Equality.
Equality is clearly the central theme for 2020, but many of you may be thinking, surely we live in a pretty equal world these days?
In Australia, women and men have relatively equal opportunities and we're steadily improving, but there are still some significant imbalances.
According to the most recent report from the Australian Human Rights Commission, women still earn 85c to every dollar a man earns, one in two mothers reported experiencing workplace discrimination as a result of their pregnancy, parental leave or return to work and a shocking one in two women have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime.
And that's just here where women have the right to work, vote and drive amongst other things.
Each for Equal is the official International Women's Day theme for 2020. (Image: Instagram @internationalwomensday_global)
"The race is on for the gender equal boardroom, a gender equal government, gender equal media coverage, gender equal workplaces, gender equal sports coverage, more gender equality in health and wealth ... so let's make it happen," the official International Women's Day page reads.
Meanwhile the UN's Generation Equality campaign is a similar call to action to join forces across generations and help create a world where every girl and woman has equal opportunities to unlock their full potential.
"Equal access to education and income are central to levelling the playing field for women around the world," their page reads. "Half a billion of the world's illiterate adults are women. This trend has not changed in 20 years. UN Women is actively working to change that."
WATCH BELOW: Meghan Markle appears in ad for UN Women. Post continues after video...

Why is International Women's Day held on March 8?

International Women's Day has been around since 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
One year later in 1909, the first National Woman's Day (NWD) was observed across the US on 28 February, in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.
But it wasn't until 1917 when March 8 became the day to celebrate. The day became a national holiday in Soviet Russia that year after women gained suffrage and was mostly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries. The United Nations then began celebrating the day in 1975 and the rest is history.
The Women's Social and Political Union in the UK started using the colours purple, green and white to symbolise women's equality as far back as 1908. Seeing as purple historically denoted justice and dignity, it's now the official colour of IWD so don your best purple outfit on the day too.
And yes there is an International Men's Day- it's on November 19.

What can I do to celebrate International Women's Day 2020

Great question, it turns out heaps!
Attend an event
From celebratory breakfasts to inspiring panels, check out the range of events near you here.
Learn more
Read books by feminist authors, chat to women from all walks of life and get to know how Australia compares to other countries around the world when it comes to gender rights.
Support the women in your life
Use the hashtag #IWD2020 if you feel like doing a social media shoutout or simply thank the women nearest and dearest to you in person or with a hug.
Think about your choices
Take a look at your Spotify playlist, book collection and even the people around you in the workplace. Is there a balance of male and female talent? If not, see what else you can do whether that's hiring more women at work or checking out a movie directed by a woman (Little Women was great if you haven't seen it already).
Donate to your favourite feminist cause
There are plenty to choose from ranging from Ovarian Cancer Australia to the Domestic Violence Crisis Service. Every little helps.

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