International Women’s Day is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women, and a time to reflect on progress made, to call for further 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.

The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” And it’s a fitting theme, considering the World Economic Forum reports it’ll be another 117 year before we achieve gender parity.

Some key targets of the Agenda:

  • By 2030, ensure that all girls complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education.
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking, sexual, and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early, and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Did You Know …

♦ The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States, in 1909. The day was designated to honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where some badass women protested against working conditions.

♦ The Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. 1945.

♦ In 1917, demonstrations marking International Women’s Day initiated the “February Revolution.” Women in Saint Petersburg went on strike that day for “Bread and Peace” – demanding the end of World War I, an end to Russian food shortages, and the end of czarism. Founding leader of the Soviet Red Army Leon Trotsky wrote, of the female led rebellion, “We did not imagine that this ‘Women’s Day’ would inaugurate the revolution. Revolutionary actions were foreseen but without date. But in morning, despite the orders to the contrary, textile workers left their work in several factories and sent delegates to ask for support of the strike… which led to mass strike… all went out into the streets.”

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Catalyst’s Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives research series offers evidence-based advice about effective ways to partner with men in ending gender inequalities at work.