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International Womens Day

International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8[-;0] every year. Nowadays this is a major day of global celebration of women. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements. Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe[->1], Russia[->2], and the former Soviet bloc[->3].

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In many regions, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day[-;4] and St Valentine’s Day[->5]. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations[->6] runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

The first national Women’s Day was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America[-;7]. In 1910, Socialist Second International[-;8] held the first international women’s conference in Copenhagen[->9]. Delegates (100 women from 17 countries) decided to establish an ‘International Women’s Day’ to promote equal rights, including sufferage[-;10], for women. They demanded that women be given the right to vote and to hold public office.

On the occasion of 2010 International Women’s Day the ICRC drew attention to the hardship displaced women endure. The displacement of populations is one of the gravest consequences of today’s armed conflicts. It affects women in a host of ways. International humanitarian law therefore includes specific provisions protecting women, for example when they are pregnant or as mothers of young children. Events took place in more than 100 countries on March 8, 2011 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

In the United States, President Barack Obama[->11] proclaimed March 2011 to be “Women’s History Month”, calling Americans to mark IWD by reflecting on “the extraordinary accomplishments of women” in shaping the country’s history. In some countries, such as Cameroon[->12], Croatia[->13], Romania[->14], Bosnia and Herzegovina[->15], Serbia[->16], Bulgaria[->17] the day is not a public holiday, but is widely observed nonetheless. On this day it is customary for men to give the women in their lives – mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc. flowers and small gifts. In some countries (such as Bulgaria and Romania) it is also observed as an equivalent of Mother’s Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers. Today, many events are held by women’s groups around the world. The UK-based marketing company Aurora hosts a free worldwide register of IWD local events so that women and the media can learn about local activity. Many governments and organizations around the world support IWD. http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=lr0togBJU-Y ->0] – /wiki/March_8 [->1] – /wiki/Eastern_Europe [->2] – /wiki/Russia [->3] – /wiki/Soviet_bloc [->4] – /wiki/Mother%27s_Day [->5] – /wiki/St_Valentine%27s_Day [->6] – /wiki/United_Nations [->7] – /wiki/Socialist_Party_of_America [->8] – /wiki/Second_International [->9] – /wiki/Copenhagen [->10] – /wiki/Sufferage [->11] – /wiki/Barack_Obama [->12] – /wiki/Cameroon [->13] – /wiki/Croatia [->14] – /wiki/Romania [->15] – /wiki/Bosnia_and_Herzegovina [->16] – /wiki/Serbia [->17] – /wiki/Bulgaria

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