The idea for an International Women’s Day arose around the turn of the 20th century out of a long-standing movement for women to participate equally in society.
The first International Women’s Day was observed on March 19, 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. That day, more than one million women and men showed their support by participating in public events. Between 1913 and 1917, women elsewhere in Europe began to celebrate the day as well.
Over time, International Women’s Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration. The theme was expanded by the United Nations in 1975 with the International Women’s Year. By 1977, the United Nations had adopted a resolution designating March 8 as International Women’s Day. Today, International Women’s Day is a national holiday in many countries and celebrated in many more. Following the United Nations’ lead, Canada chose March 8 as International Women’s Day.
Each year, International Women’s Day provides Canadians with the opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and their extraordinary potential, across the country and around the world.
This year, Canada’s theme for International Women’s Day 2015 is: Strong Women. Strong World. Improving Economic Opportunities for All. This theme points to the vital contribution that women make every day to both the domestic and the global economy. It also highlights the importance of ensuring that every woman has the opportunity to help create prosperity, whether as an employee, a professional, a business leader or an entrepreneur.
This International Women’s Day, we invite all Canadians to celebrate the outstanding contributions of women, including business leaders and entrepreneurs, who support their families, enrich their communities, and help make Canada a great place to live. While real progress has been made toward equality for women and their full participation in all aspects of society, barriers remain. That’s why the Government of Canada is committed to taking actions that promote economic opportunities for all Canadians, including women. Through Status of Women Canada, the Government of Canada has provided more than $60 million for community-based projects that promote women’s economic security and prosperity.
For more information, please visit Status of Women Canada.