For Oliver James, March 8th embodies International Women’s Day – a yearly celebration of women’s achievements in the social, cultural, economic and political arenas. But where did this occasion originate? And how has it come to be a global phenomenon, heralding important change for womankind worldwide?
The notion of a day that championed the female voice was first conceived in 1908, when 15,000 women took to the streets of New York City to canvass for voting rights and improved working conditions. 1909 would show the impact of such action, with the inaugural National Women’s Day taking place across the United States on 28th February. It was an important moment in women’s suffrage, gaining support from the Socialist Party of America.
In 1910, an International Conference of Working Women further legitimised the cause. 100 women from 17 countries collaborated to initiate the annual event of advocacy, which would be observed globally from 1911. Over the next century, women across the world spoke out in the name of feminism, and International Women’s Day provided the platform. However, the journey wasn’t without obstacle, and despite overarching support, by 2000, trends faded and conversations changed.
2011 marked the centenary of the first International Women’s Day, revitalising the campaign in an era where social media could spread the word like never before. Bolstered by the humble hashtag, messages of strength, independence, progression and inspiration have underpinned IWD’s online presence and attracted a new generation, eagerly pursuing a modern-day gender equality.
Last year, the topic was #PledgeForParity, and Oliver James made sure it was front and centre. In support of the campaign, we joined forces with Recruitment International’s Women In Recruitment initiative, wrote opinion pieces on diversity and inclusion in the finance sector, and conducted a Q&A on female leadership with our very own Clare Nash, Director. And this was only a few of the measures we took to ensure gender parity was top priority at Oliver James.
Fortunately, we are just one of thousands of organisations each year that recognises International Women’s Day, and how much it means to millions across the world. 2017 will be no different – and that’s a promise.