International Women's Day is an annual observation on March 8 that celebrates women and their achievements. The first International Women's Day was held to commemorate the 1908 Ladies' Garment Workers Union strike in New York City when some 15,000 women walked off the job to protest their working conditions. The event, sponsored by the Socialist Party of America, inspired Socialists in Denmark to declare an international counterpart in 1910. Following the outbreak of World War 1, International Women's Day rallies in the U.S. and Europe became a platform for anti-war activists as well as women's and workers' rights. More than a century after the first International Women's Day, women have made tremendous progress toward a more just and equitable society. Much still needs to be done to advance women's issues around the world.
In Belize, the first International Women’s Day was observed in the late 1970s and was initiated by a strong group of women from various organizations. We have now designated the entire month of March as Women’s Month which is a time to take stock on gender issues, as we not only celebrate the many achievements of our Belizean women, but we also reflect on the progress made in gender equality. A planning committee chaired by the National Women’s Commission includes representative from both government and non-government organizations. This committee selects the theme and plan activities throughout the month of March to empower, educate, uplift, and celebrate the women of Belize. The highlight of Women’s Month is the Women’s Award. This award honours women from all over the country and walks of life who have contributed significantly to the development of their community and Belize.