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What Exactly Is International Women’s Day?

Here's why it's all over your feed right now.

Jessica Migala |

It’s been an incredible, historic year for women, from the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement to the Women’s Marches of 2017 and 2018. Mark your calendars for another female power moment:  (IWD), happening on Thursday, March 8.

What is International Women’s Day?

The goal of IWD: to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Think of March 8 as the kick-off event to a year of activism and celebration, with the goal of making progress on issues women face such as wage equality and gender parity.

As the name suggests, it’s a worldwide initiative that’s not tied to any specific organization or country.

What is the theme this year?

Women are gaining a lot of momentum in terms of fighting back against sexual harassment and demanding equality, so the theme this year is #PressforProgress.

“Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity,” the  reads. “A strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.”

When did International Women’s Day start?

According to the , the first National Woman’s Day in the U.S. took place in 1909 in honor of the previous year’s garment workers’ strike, which was led by women. The first International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 19, 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland, per the . One million people world wide attended rallies in order to end gender discrimination and fight for women’s rights to vote and work, according to the .

How can I get involved?

Search for female-focused International Women’s Day events, which take place all over the world. You’ll find local events that inspire and empower, from panel discussions to happy hours, lunches, benefits, and workshops.

The International Women’s Day website also has a on how you can get into the spirit by downloading #PressforProgress selfie cards and posters, watch videos, and share your mission with friends, family, and colleagues. You can also put together your own event.

How can I blast this over social media?

Register to participate in , a social media campaign that will post a one-time message on your social media account declaring your support and commitment to IWD. You can also tweet pictures and messages with the hashtag #internationalwomensday.

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