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All You Need To Know About International Women's Day & Women's History Month 2021

Boluwa Olojo of Nigeia (Photo:

For us at Girl Africa, every month is Women's Month because we understand the importance of celebrating and uplifting the women in our societies for the promotion of gender equality and female empowerment.

The journey to equality is an unending one. For decades, women around the world have united, partnered and collaborated for this greater good. Still, the gender gap across many matrices show that progress made is minuscule. Some experts have projected that true equality globally would not be achieved in the next century. Still wondering why efforts and investments for this global goal need to be amplified through a month-long campaign? Well, now, you know.

So, here's all you need to know about International Women's Day and Women's History Month 2021, from how it started, what it is about, why you need to take it seriously, and how you can participate.

What Is It:

According to the official website, it is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality. The Day is dedicated towards: celebrating women's achievements; raising awareness about women's equality; lobbying for accelerated gender parity and fundraising for female-focused charities.

How Did It Start:

According to HistoryExtra, International Women’s Day has existed in various forms across the world for more than 100 years. It developed from a range of different labour and social justice movements to eventually become an annual event recognised by the UN. A National Woman’s Day (NWD) was marked in the United States on 28 February 1909, but it wasn’t until 1911 that the first International Women’s Day took place (with Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland taking part). In 1975, the event was made ‘official’ by through recognition by the United Nations (UN).

Who was the brains behind it all? In many ways it was a collaborative effort – the result of numerous movements and activities. But if we want to be more specific, it was a woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) who was the first to propose the idea of an International Women’s Day. At a conference in Copenhagen of more than 100 working women from different countries, she suggested that every country celebrate a women’s day on the same date each year. Her proposal was met with unanimous approval – and thus International Women’s Day as we know it today was established.

The 2021 Theme - '#ChooseToChallenge':

According to the official website, the campaign theme for International Women's Day 2021 is 'Choose To Challenge'. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.

How Can You Participate:

Whether you are hosting an event, running a campaign, launching an initiative, reporting on achievement, donating to a female-focused charity, or more - there are many ways groups and individuals can mark International Women's Day. Whatever you choose to do just make sure you are:

  • identifying, celebrating and increasing visibility of women's achievements helping forge equality

  • strategically collaborating based on a foundation of shared purpose, trust and appreciation

  • raising worldwide awareness via meaningful narratives, resources and activity helping combat gender bias and discrimination to accelerate gender parity

What will you be doing to commemorate International Women's Day and Women's History Month?


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