1. Originally called International Working Women’s Day, it was first celebrated on February 28, 1909, in New York in remembrance of a 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union when 15,000 workers, including many immigrants, marched through the city’s lower east side to demand social and political rights.
2. The first modern International Women’s Day was held in 1914, five years after its inception, on March 8. The day was chosen because it was a Sunday, which the majority of women would have off work allowing them to participate in marches and other events, and has been celebrated on that date ever since.
4. According to the UN, it is “a day when women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.”
5. The day is now an official holiday in several countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mongolia, Vietnam and Zambia and for women only in countries including China, Madagascar and Nepal.
In Nigeria, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has called on Nigerian women to be “bold for change’’ and work towards redefining opportunities for future generations of women. Saraki, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Gender Advocacy, Fatima Kakuri, made the call as the world marks International Women’s Day.
According to Vanguard, he said that the Day presented an opportunity for every Nigerian to recognise and celebrate the talent and achievement of women and girls. Senator Saraki “We must appreciate the fact that 49.6 per cent of our mothers, wives, daughters and sisters own or manage 48 per cent of the informal micro-businesses in Nigeria. “Such numbers are truly significant because they demonstrate that Nigerian women contribute immensely to our social, economic and political development.
“In everything that we do, we need to be bold for change. We need to challenge bias and inequality by standing up when women are excluded from positions of leadership,’’ he said. Saraki called for synergy between men and women to ensure sustainable development.