International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (IWD) or International Working Women’s Day is a special day observed on 8 March every year in many countries. It is observed as a day to respect and treasure women as well as to appreciate women’s achievement in economy, politic, and social. Different countries have different ways in celebrating International Women’s Day. Some countries observe the date as a public holiday for all citizens, some others only grant day off for women, while the rest do not observe the date at all.

When is International Women’s Day 2014?
International Women’s Day (IWD) 2014 falls on Saturday, 8 March 2014.

The Origin of International Women’s Day
The United States became the first country celebrating Woman’s Day nationally on 28 February 1909. Following the celebration of Woman’s Day in the US, an International Women’s Conference was organized in August 1910 to promote gender equality. In less than a year, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated by more than a million people in 4 countries – Germany, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland – on 18 March 1911. It was not a popular event observed internationally until the year 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 8 March as the UN Day for women’s right and peace.

Countries Observing IWD as a Public Holiday
Below is the list of countries observing International Women’s Day as a public holiday for all citizens.

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cambodia
  • Cuba
  • Georgia
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Eritrea
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Russia
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia

Countries Observing IWD as a Holiday for Women
Below is the list of countries observing International Women’s Day as a holiday only for women.

  • China
  • Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Nepal

Countries Celebrating IWD without Observing the Day as a Public Holiday
Below is the list of countries celebrating International Women’s Day by giving gifts or conducting special events for women, but not making the day a public holiday.

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Cameroon
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Poland
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

International Women’s Day Celebration

People in many countries celebrate International Women’s Day by giving flowers, chocolates, or gifts to women in their lives including mother, sister, wife, daughter, girlfriend, and female colleagues. In some countries, the celebration of International Women’s Day is almost the same with Mother’s Day in which children give presents to their mother.

Sometimes, the excessive celebration of International Women’s Day brings controversies concerning discrimination and violence against human rights. As an illustration, one local authority in London specializes one of its library to women and forbids men as well as male staffs to enter the library during International Women’s Day. Another example, hundreds men and women in Iran were beaten by the officers because of planning a rally on International Woman’s Day in 2007.

All in all, the purpose of International Woman’s Day is to honor and appreciate women, promote gender equality, and create peaceful environment for women. The celebration of such day is never meant to spark violence or highlight and exacerbate discrimination between men and women around the world.

Happy International Women’s Day 2014 !

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