What is International Women’s Day and what is the 2017 theme

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International Women's Day
International Women's Day 2017. Photo: Twitter/CSA_Kenya

Today (8 March) is International Women’s Day (IWD), a worldwide celebration of women’s achievements and a day to push for gender equality marked by marches, conferences, talks and performances.

While the UK has closed the gender gap, a measure calculated by looking at education, pay, health and political empowerment by just 75 per cent, the World Economic Forum claims only five countries have closed the gender gap by 80 per cent or more.

When was the first International Women’s Day?

The origins of International Women’s Day can be traced back to New York City in 1908, when around 15,000 women marched to demand universal suffrage, better pay and shorter working hours.

The first ever US National Woman’s Day took place on February 28 the following year.

In 1910, the then leader of the women’s office for Germany’s Social Democratic Party, Clara Zatkin, suggested that every country should celebrate an International Women’s Day.

100 women from 17 different countries agreed with the first IWD celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911.

Two years later, the date was changed to March 8 where it has remained ever since.

What is the International Women’s Day 2017 theme?

The United Nations formally recognised International Women’s Day in 1975 and ever since has created a theme for each year’s celebration.

This year the theme is #BeBoldForChange – a call for groundbreaking action to drive greater change for women.

In Africa, the hashtag #ShePridesAfrica is also being used to celebrate women across the continent.

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