International Women's Day

Quick Facts - EU

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2024 Date8 March 2024
2025 Date8 March 2025

International Women's Day

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International Women's Day History

International Women's Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is an occasion to reflect on progress made, to call for changes and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an exceptional role in the history of their countries and communities. The observance also highlights the need for gender equality, women’s rights and their contribution to society.

The history of International Women's Day can be traced back to the early 20th century with women across Europe demanding their rights for suffrage, better working conditions and equality. In the European Union, the observance plays a significant role in bringing awareness to various issues that concern women, such as gender pay gap, workplace discrimination, and violence against women. The day serves as a platform to address these aspects at a continental level and reinforces EU’s commitment to gender equality, as stated by European Institute for Gender Equality.

International Women’s Day in the European Union is typically marked by numerous events and activities. These include discussions, presentations, rallies, networking events, performances and online digital campaigns that aim to promote women's rights and their achievements. Various EU institutions endorse and participate in these initiatives. International Women's Day takes place annually on March 8th each year.

Facts about International Women's Day

  • The theme for International Women's Day in 2024 was Inspire Inclusion. In 2023 the theme was #BreakTheBias.
  • The United Nations Officially Adopted International Women's Day In 1975.
  • There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
  • To support gender equality and women's participation in the labour market, the EU passed the Work-Life Balance Directive in 2019. This directive provides for paternity leave and strengthens the existing rights to parental leave.
  • On International Women's Day 2021, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, reiterated that achieving a gender-equal world requires effort every day and cannot be limited to one single day of the year.

Top things to do in the EU for International Women's Day

  • Attend one of many popular Women’s day events including: WeCon Women's Empowerment Conference (Austin, TX), Women of the World Festival (UK), and The Empowerment Bridge (NYC).
  • If you’re a man, show appreciation by performing a chore for your special lady that is typically done by her. This may include cooking, cleaning, child care or anything that the special woman in your life does.
  • Be a part of the European Women’s Lobby, an organization that advocates for women’s rights and gender equality across the European Union.
  • Participate in the Women's Solidarity March, an annual event that takes place in many EU cities to show solidarity for women’s struggles around the world.

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