March 8 is the day we dedicate to celebrating the contributions that women make in our world every day.

International Women's Day (IWD) is a global awareness day where we shine a light on the achievements that women have made in the cultural, political, and socioeconomic spheres.

However, it is also an opportunity to highlight the work still to be done and what we can do to create a more gender-equal world.

Here's everything you need to know about IWD this year from why we celebrate it to how you can get involved.

Why do we celebrate International Women's Day on March 8?

In the early 20th century, the world was seeing women's suffrage movements popping up across the world from New Zealand to the US.

Various versions of a "Women's Day" existed before it became the global celebration we know.

Back in February 1909, the Socialist Party of America organised a Women's Day in New York City.

A year later, the International Socialist Women's Conference in Germany proposed an annual (but dateless) Women's Day.

We would get March 8 from the day that women gained the vote in Russia in the wake of the February Revolution in 1917.

The date was later adopted by global feminist movements and was then made an official global holiday by the United Nations in 1977.

Read more about the history of International Women's Day via the UN website.

What is the theme for International Women's Day 2022?

Oxford Mail: International Women's Day poster. Credit: Burcu Köleli for UN Women (2022) International Women's Day poster. Credit: Burcu Köleli for UN Women (2022)

This year's theme is "Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow", UN Women confirmed in December 2021.

UN Women added that the 2022 theme is about "recognising the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all."

The UN body recognises that women are both disproportionately affected by Climate Change and are also "effective and powerful leaders and change-makers" in the fight to protect the planet.

It is aligned with the priority for this year's upcoming 66th Commission on the Status of Women: “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes”.


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How to get involved in International Women's Day 2022

It couldn't be easier to get involved in IWD this year from sharing articles to taking part on social media. 

Educate yourself

The UN has put together a list of resources to help you educate yourself on this year's issue including articles like "5 reasons Climate Changes Needs Women" and "Women bear the brunt of the climate crisis, COP26 highlights"

There are also plenty of websites, publications and other international days that you can involved in.

See all the IWD resources via the UN website.

Attend or organise an IWD event

The purpose of IWD is to celebrate women and their achievements and the best way to do that is by coming together.

There is no shortage of events taking place online and in person all over the world.

You can check out your local Facebook pages, community centres and more to see what's going on near you.

Alternatively, visit the International Women's Day website to find an event near you or to find advice about how to plan your own event.

Eventbrite has also rounded up all the online IWD events you can attend in the run-up to March 8.

Oxford Mail: Shadows of women celebrating looking at the sky. Credit: CanvaShadows of women celebrating looking at the sky. Credit: Canva

Share resources on social media

Social media is a powerful tool and shouldn't be underestimated. 

You can share the above articles, publications as well as important infographics and data collected by the UN and other major organisations. 

Beyond using your platforms to celebrate your female family members and friends, you can use your voice to bring about change.

Share and sign feminist petitions, make empowering book and film recommendations - whatever you like!

Remember to use the #IWD22 hashtag on the posts to be part of the conversation!

Support feminist businesses and charities

If you're looking for something a bit more proactive, supporting feminist businesses and charities is a great way to do some good.

Try shopping locally at a female-owned business or donate to charities who are fighting against gender inequality all over the world from Oxfam, Malala Fund, Women for Women International, Girls Not Brides and so much more.

In other words, be part of the change that you want to see!