International Women’s Day – What Is It And Why Celebrate It?

You might’ve seen International Women’s Day marked on your calendar or diary and never paid much attention to what this day is.

Or maybe your company or school invites you to take part in events or activities on IWD and you don’t really know much about the history or ongoing support of this day.

Let’s dive in and learn a little more about International Women’s Day and what it means for us at Nurtured Birth.

What is International Women’s Day?

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on March 8th, recognising all women for their achievements, whether that’s in the social, cultural, political and economic arena. 

IWD has been happening every day for over one hundred years and since then, it’s grown in terms of the number of organisations, governments and people supporting it. The movement has built a lot of support over the time for women’s rights and gender equality in all aspects of our lives. 

What’s the history of International Women’s Day?

The history of IWD begins with the labour movements happening at the turn of the 20th century in Europe and North America. Women started to protest against their oppression and lack of equality, leading to a march for women’s rights in New York in 1908. 15 000 women demanded voting rights, shorter hours and better pay. 

Two years later, a political leader in Germany suggested the idea of an International Women’s Day and was supported by over one hundred other women from across 17 different countries. 

The first IWD was held in 1911 on March 19th, with more than a million women and men attending protests campaigning for women’s rights to vote, work and hold public office, as well as end discrimination. In 1913 the date of IWD was moved to March 8th and has been held on this day since then. 

How is IWD celebrated in Australia?

The first IWD was held in Sydney in 1928 and was organised by the Militant Women’s Movement, where women demanded paid leave and equal pay for equal work. The following year, Brisbane held an IWD event and by 1931 marches were held in Sydney and Melbourne, continuing annually to this day. 

Why is International Women’s Day important?

Since its beginning, IWD has grown to highlight not only the achievements women have made over the last century, but to demonstrate further work needs to be done to break down the barriers that lead to gender inequality. 

This is so important, even in these times when women have the right to vote, be independent financially and hold political office. There is still a large pay gap between genders and fewer women are employed in prominent positions in corporations or organisations. 

Today, IWD reminds us to look at what has been achieved and to recognise what still needs to be done to ensure future generations of girls and women are treated equally and with respect. 

To find out more about International Women’s Day and events held annually, visit the website here.

What does IWD mean to Sarah Goldberg the Founding Director of Nurtured Birth?


There is nothing quite like the sisterhood, love and connection that can be fostered  amongst woman. We have so much capacity to nurture, lift up and support one another when needed. I want to celebrate all the woman around the world that deeply inspire me to do and be better. I also want to celebrate the great achievements of woman in our past and present that have tirelessly fought for more equality and humanity, highlighting disparities and  improving pathways for all  women young and old.

Incredible photo credit by Vince Hemingson


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