What is International Women's Day 2019 and is there an International Men's Day?

Women have been encouraged to celebrate the event by taking the day off work to demonstrate how valuable they are to the economy. But what are the origins of the day and how is it marked? Here is all you need to know…

When is International Women's Day 2019 and what is it?

International Women’s Day is held each year on March 8.

This year the global celebration falls on a Friday.

It is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements and calls for gender equality.

The day has been observed since the early 1900s and aims to bring together governments, women's organisations and charities.

How did International Women's Day begin?

The day can be traced back to 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City calling for voting rights, shorter working hours and better pay.

On March 8 1914, there was a march from Bow to Trafalgar Square in support of women's suffrage.

Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst was notoriously arrested in front of Charing Cross station, on her way to speak in the central London square.

In the following years, a form of women’s day was held on varying dates in different countries, but by 1913 it was decided that March 8 would officially be International Women’s Day – and it has been that way ever since.

Is there an International Men’s Day?

There is an International Men’s Day – which celebrated on November 19 each year.

It is an international event and is celebrated in over 70 countries.

Calls for an International Men's Day had been going on since at least the 1960s when the New York Times reported that: "Many men have been agitating privately to make February 23 International Men's Day, the equivalent of March 8, which is International Women's day."

Objectives of International Men's Day include focusing on men's and boy's health, promoting gender equality and celebrating their positive achievements and contributions.

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