What is International Women’s Day? And what’s happening at Kent?

On the 8th March every year, the world’s population comes together to celebrate International Women’s Day. But why? What’s the history of the occasion? And what’s happening at Kent?

Origins of the day largely come from the socialism movement with the Socialist Part of America first coming up with a single day to celebrate women in 1909, and the International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggesting a worldwide day the next year.

Since then, International Woman’s Day has grown into not only a universal symbol of gender equality but has been sponsored by the UN since 1975 who create a new theme on the day every year.

This year, the theme of the day will revolve around “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, suggesting a focus on women in STEM jobs and education whilst achieving equality in the process.

The celebration has also been made a public holiday in several countries, including Russia (although we’ll come back to this one), China and Vietnam, again originating from its socialist roots, and sadly we in Britain are still expected to work as usual.

Despite this apparent universal respect of International Women’s Day, some world leaders have undoubtedly misunderstood the importance of the event:

  • Two years ago, Brazilian President (at the time) Michel Temer, said in a speech on International Women’s Day: “Nobody is more capable to pointing out the unbalances in, let’s say, supermarket prices than women”

  • Also two years ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin, said “Even today on International Women’s Day, you are still caught up in your routine, working tirelessly, always on time”.

At the University of Kent, there is a free to attend Q&A panel about the day occurring in Grimond including Vice-Chancellor Karen Cox (for more information click the link here).

Kent RaG have also organised a campus-wide charity quiz (Woody’s, K-Bar, Mungo’s, Origins and Cargo) to celebrate the event, and the Gulbenkian are holding an all-female comedian line-up from 7:30pm.

If you’re interested in these events and more, click here.

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