x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

How the celebration of International Women's Day evolved

International Women's Day has been celebrated for more than 100 years. The National takes a look at how it all started.

1909: The first National Woman's Day was observed in the United States on February 28, organised by the Socialist Party of America to honour the 1908 garment workers' strike in New York, when women protested against working conditions.

1910: At a Socialist International meeting in Copenhagen, more than 100 women from 17 countries voted in favour of establishing a Women's Day to honour the movement for women's rights and build support for achieving universal suffrage for women.

1911: International Women's Day (IWD) was marked for the first time on March 19 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, where more than a million women and men attended rallies at which they demanded the right to vote and to hold public office, women's rights to work, vocational training and to end discrimination in the workplace.

1913: Russian women first observed IWD on the last Sunday in February. Protests on the IWD in 1917 led to the Feburary revolution and the abdication of the Tsar.

1975: The United Nations first observed IWD.

1977: In December, the UN's General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by member states, in accordance with their historical and national traditions. In adopting its resolution, the General Assembly recognised the role of women in peace efforts and development and urged an end to discrimination.

Today IWD is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends and colleagues with flowers and small gifts.

* Credit: internationalwomensday.com and the UN