International Women’s Day in Wimbledon

International Women’s Day 2024

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” – Gloria Steinem

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year. It has been observed as a special day for women around the world for more than a century.

On this day – which is this Friday! – you might see streets, markets, businesses, schools and other public places adorned in pink and purple for the day.

So how did it start?

The origin of International Women’s Day is contested, but there are some interesting pieces of history that vie for the honour!

During the Cold War, the West and the Communist block held different opinions about its origins. Some say it began with socialist women and textile workers in New York, who in 1909 marched for the right to vote, shorter hours and higher pay. Others attribute it to anti-fascist and socialist German leader Clara Zetkin. Clara was a women’s rights activist and took the opportunity to advocate for a worldwide holiday for women while at a conference for working women in Copenhagen in 1910. Female representatives from 17 different countries backed this proposal.

Later, activists across Europe began marking the day for women demanding the right to vote, lead, graduate, for equal pay, for equal rights in the workplace and more. Over a million people reportedly attended these rallies.

Finally, in 1975, the United Nations began to mark the occasion. In the intervening years since then, many countries have started to make this day into a public holiday or holiday for women. Whether it is recognised officially or not, it has become a popular cultural occasion nonetheless.

Where could you enjoy a day off for International Women’s Day?

Russia observes International Women’s Day as a national holiday.

In China, women are able to take a half day off from work on this day.

In Italy, International Women’s Day is locally called ‘Festa della Donna’ and is observed by exchanging mimosa flowers.

In the US, March is Women’s History Month, with a presidential proclamation commemorating the achievements of American women.

In 2024, International Women’s Day has an important theme

It has an intrinsic link to what the first women who began fighting for equality over a century ago ultimately wanted to see: ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,’ targeting economic disempowerment. The campaign theme for this year is ‘Inspire Inclusion’, emphasizing the importance of diversity and empowerment in all aspects of society.

This underscores the crucial role of inclusion in achieving gender equality. By inspiring others to understand and value the inclusion of women, we forge a better world for everyone in it, fostering values of belonging, relevance, and empowerment.

Everyone everywhere can inspire inclusion: organizations, groups, and individuals can all play a part – in our community, at work, at home, and beyond.

To truly include women means to openly embrace women’s diversity of race, age, ability, faith, body image, and how any woman identifies.

Individually, what should be acknowledged and practiced is the value and inclusion of women and girls, while sharing this knowledge, support and encouragement with others.

In the community, there are many ways to ensure the needs, interests and aspirations of women and girls are valued and included, such as helping to forge women’s economic empowerment by ensuring equal pay; recruiting, retaining and developing diverse talent; supporting women and girls into leadership; designing and building infrastructure that meets the needs of women and girls; helping women and girls make informed decisions about their health, and so many more.

What can you do in Wimbledon to celebrate International Women’s Day?

Friday 8th March
8:30am – 10:00am
Networking at Elys Restaurant

Hosted by Time & Leisure in partnership with Merton Chamber of Commerce
A fun and lively networking morning at Elys Restaurant, serving a continental breakfast. Camilla Barnard, the inspiration co-founder of the successful breakfast brand Rude Health will be guest speaking.

Friday 8th March
10:30am – 12:00noon
Deeds Not Words

An Illustrated talk at Wimbledon Library for International Women’s Day, highlighting the campaign for the vote and the women’s suffragette movement in Merton.

Saturday 9th March
10:00am – 5:00pm
International Women’s Day Market

Hosted by Go Inspire
Local female entrepreneurs will be selling their crafts and products on the ground floor of Wimbledon Quarter. Support female-owned businesses!



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