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International Women's Day events

The Wom­en’s Muse­um of Aus­tralia annu­al­ly hosts events to join the efforts of mil­lions of women to bet­ter the future of women and girls globally.

International womens day melbourne 1975

The Unit­ed Nations describes IWD as

…a day when women are rec­og­nized for their achieve­ments with­out regard to divi­sions, whether nation­al, eth­nic, lin­guis­tic, cul­tur­al, eco­nom­ic or polit­i­cal. It is an occa­sion for look­ing back on past strug­gles and accom­plish­ments, and more impor­tant­ly, for look­ing ahead to the untapped poten­tial and oppor­tu­ni­ties that await future gen­er­a­tions of women.

IWD also pro­vides us with an oppor­tu­ni­ty to unite, debate, net­work and mobilise funds to fos­ter mean­ing­ful change for women and girls in future.

We cel­e­brate Inter­na­tion­al Women’s Day and the anniver­sary of the Muse­um’s foun­da­tion asso­ci­a­tion annu­al­ly on 8 March.

Pic­tured: 1975 Inter­na­tion­al Wom­en’s Day Ral­ly, Mel­bourne, 1975
Image cour­tesy MoAD



In 1908, against a back­drop of ter­ri­ble work­ing con­di­tions and exploita­tion, 15 000 women took to the streets of New York protest­ing for short­er hours, bet­ter pay and vot­ing rights.

The next year, the Social­ist Par­ty of Amer­i­ca announced a Nation­al Wom­en’s Day to hon­our the strik­ers and in 1910 it went glob­al — the Social­ist Inter­na­tion­al vot­ed for the cre­ation of a Wom­en’s Day to advo­cate for suf­frage. The first Inter­na­tion­al Wom­en’s Day was held in 1911, and more than a mil­lion peo­ple turned out to ral­lies in Europe.

For most of the 20th Cen­tu­ry, Inter­na­tion­al Wom­en’s Day was acknowl­edged and cel­e­brat­ed by peo­ple at the grass­roots lev­el as a ral­ly­ing point for social jus­tice. It was­n’t until 1975 — Inter­na­tion­al Wom­en’s Year — that the Unit­ed Nations adopt­ed Inter­na­tion­al Wom­en’s Day on 8 March.

Pic­tured: On May 16th, 1911, British suf­fragette Char­lotte Despard (18441939) (wear­ing a white waist­coat) heads a march of the Nation­al Fed­er­a­tion of Women Work­ers through Bermond­sey in South Lon­don. (Pho­to by Top­i­cal Press Agency/​Getty Images)