Every day, millions of women take steps to make a better world for themselves and others, and one day a year, those efforts are not only celebrated but shared by millions of others.
On March 8, 2017, women will join together to “Be Bold for Change” in honor of International Women’s Day.
The global day of action, which began in the early 1900s, celebrates the political, economic, social and cultural achievements of women.
But it’s not just women who can get involved; everyone is encouraged to “help forge a better working world -- a more inclusive, gender equal world,” organizers say on their website.
Scroll down to learn more about International Women's Day and how you can get involved.
Origin of International Women’s Day
New York City has played a vital role in many social movements throughout the nation’s history and International Women’s Day is no exception.
In 1908, amid a growing movement calling for better working conditions and voting rights, 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York City to demand change.
A year later, on Feb. 28, 1909, the first National Women’s Day was observed. The movement continued to grow and an International Women’s Day was established in 1910 by the International Conference of Working Women, held in Copenhagen, Denmark. The official date was moved to March 8 in 1913 following discussions from key organizers.
While women continued to fight for equality through the intervening decades, it wasn’t until 1975 that the United Nations became involved and annual themes – the first being “Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future” -- were established.
International Women’s Day 2017 theme
This year, the United Nations' theme is "Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030," which focuses on achieving gender equality in the work force.
Meanwhile, organizers behind the International Women's Day website employed the theme of “Be Bold for Change,” which similarly encourages women to be leaders in the fight for gender parity: “Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.”
How to take action
The opportunities for women around the world to strike out in the face of adversity and affect change come in myriad forms. From challenging stereotypes and buying from companies that support women to starting a women-focused scholarship or mentoring a junior female colleague at work, the options are seemingly limitless.
Every year, women organize marches, conferences, awards, exhibitions, fun runs and more.
Perhaps the most visible way women get involved is through public demonstrations orchestrated around the world. Protests, marches and rallies are planned this year in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Melbourne, Australia and Toronto, Canada.
The organizers of the Women's March have also encouraged women to take a stand by going on strike. The A Day Without A Woman protest asks women to stay home from work or school, avoid shopping and wear red in a show of solidarity.
Events around New York City
Here’s how you can get involved in the five boroughs: