International Women's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized 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.
In 1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day on 8 March. Two years later, in December 1977, the 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 on the observance of Women's Day, the General Assembly cited two reasons: to recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.
For the women of the world, the Day's symbolism has a wider meaning: It is an occasion to review how far they have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development. It is also an opportunity to unite, network and mobilize for meaningful change.
For the United Nations, International
Women's Day has been observed on 8 March since 1975. The Day is traditionally
marked with a message from the Secretary-General. Special events are organized
at UN Headquarters in
Women's Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn
of the twentieth century in
Since those early years, International Women's Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women's movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women's conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women's rights and participation in the political and economic arenas. Increasingly, International Women's Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
Since 1996 a theme has been chosen for Women's Day:
1996 Celebrating the past, planning for the future
1997 Women at the peace table
1998 Women and human rights
1999 World free of violence against women
2000 Women uniting for peace
2001 Women and peace: women managing conflicts
2002 Afghan women today: realities and opportunities
2003 Gender equality and the Millennium Development Goals
2004 Women and HIV/AIDS
2005 Gender equality beyond 2005: building a more secure future
2006 Women in decision-making
2007 Ending impunity for violence against women and girls
2008 Investing in women and girls
2009 Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
Stamp catalogue - 1990
Stamp catalogue - 2002
Stamp catalogue - 2007