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International Women’s Day is an annual march recognizing women around the world. According to the United Nations, International Women’s Day first began in just the United States in 1909 as National Woman’s Day on Feb. 28. The day, designated by the Socialist Party of America, was created to honor the garment workers’ strike of 1908 where women demanded better working conditions. This year, Women’s March organizers recently announced plans to stage a “Day Without A Woman” protest on International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day really picked up steam thanks to the Socialist International, an international organization that unites socialist, social democratic and labor parties of countries around the world. The SI established a Women’s Day in 1910, but, according to the U.N., focused on its international aspects: “to honor the movement for women’s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women.” From the 1910s until the 1970s, International Women’s Day was mostly celebrated by communist states like the Soviet Russia and China. The day reached a wider global audience after the U.N. adopted it in 1975 to focus on gender inequalities throughout the world. Annual theme and color Purple is the color of International Women’s Day, thanks to its strong ties to the women’s suffrage movement and as a symbol for dignity and justice. However, for the Women’s March “Day Without A Woman” strike, organizers recommend wearing red instead of purple.