International Women’s Day

Emily Dorman

What is International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day is a holiday observed on March 8th by the global community to celebrate the political, economic, cultural, and social achievements of women all over the world. Throughout history, women around the world have been coming together to fight for equal rights. International Women’s day was, and still is, one of the many mechanisms created to combat gender inequality.

International Women’s Day was first mentioned during the second International Conference of Working Women held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed that every country designate a day dedicated to women to internationally address womens’ issues. Zetkin’s proposal was unanimously approved by the 17 countries present, and International Women’s Day was first recognized in 1911.

That year over a million men and women in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland celebrated by attending and organizing protests. In the years following, more nations began to recognize International Women’s Day and in 1975, was officially adopted by the United Nations.[1]

In 1996, the United Nations started announcing annual themes to hone in on the specific needs of women and more effectively cultivate solutions. Some of these early themes included “Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future,” “Women at the Peace table,” and “World Free of Violence Against Women.” To this day, the UN continues to announce the yearly focal points to foster important conversations and collaborate to achieve gender equality.

DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality

Although strides have been made in the fight for gender equality, women around the world are still experiencing unequal pay, unequal access to education, mistreatment in the workforce, unequal access to healthcare, gender-based violence, and much more. We must continue working together to foster international discussions to combat these issues.

The 2023 theme for International Women’s Day is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.” According to UN Women, “Women make up only 22 percent of artificial intelligence workers globally; a global analysis of 133 AI systems across industries found that 44.2 percent demonstrate gender bias and a survey of women journalists from 125 countries found that 73 percent had suffered online violence in the course of their work.”[2]

The achievements of women in the technology industry have gone unrecognized  for far too long. Despite all the contributions and achievements made by women, there is still a lack of female representation and acceptance to this day. This International Women’s Day, the United Nations hopes to work alongside the International community to make the digital industry equally accessible, inclusive, and accommodating. The United Nations stresses the importance of filling these gaps, while also using technology to promote women’s empowerment.

As the world continues to innovate and grow technology, we can use these new platforms to speak out and advocate for women all around the globe.

What can you do to celebrate International Women’s Day?

We must use International Women’s Day to celebrate our progress while also recognizing the inequalities women are still facing today. Although March 8th is a great opportunity to educate, spread awareness, foster discussions, and create solutions, we must work to address gender inequality all year round. You can do your part this year by…

  • Educating yourself and others about gender inequalities
  • Fostering discussions with friends and family
  • Learning more about important female figures in the digital industry
  • Donating to feminist organizations
  • Supporting women-owned businesses
  • Attending/organizing campaigns to advocate for women’s rights

[1] “History of International Women’s Day.” International Women’s Day. Accessed March 5, 2023.

[2] 2023, 1 March. “In Focus: International Women’s Day.” UN Women – Headquarters, March 1, 2023.