Celebrating 100 years of International Women's Day

8 MARCH 2011

Celebration of 100th International Women Day

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women's Day is a national holiday.

This year marked the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. Here is how some of our partners commemorated this historic milestone:

WHO celebrates a century of women acting as agents of change

WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, delivered a statement honouring women’s efforts over the past 100 years to improve their lives, communities and health. She said while there is much to celebrate on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, many challenges still remain: “Maternal mortality rates and HIV rates among young women are still too high, tobacco consumption among women is increasing, sexual and other forms of gender-based violence continue to be widespread, and there is an increasingly heavy burden of noncommunicable diseases on women.” Dr Chan also spoke of the importance of education and training to “equip girls and women with skills needed to protect their health.”

UNFPA: It’s Time to Unleash the Full Potential of Women

UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin shared an inspirational message reaffirming the organization’s “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, and in the equal rights of men and women.” The importance of improving health and education for women and girls was a key theme in his message: “When girls are educated and healthy, and can avoid early marriage, unwanted pregnancy and HIV, they can contribute fully to society. UNFPA will continue to move forward guided by the belief that progress for women is progress for all.”

WRA calls for action on gender equality to ensure safe motherhood

To mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood (WRA) inspired women and men around the world to raise awareness and funds for maternal health.

Together with a coalition of organizations, including ActionAid, Amnesty International, Oxfam, Save the Children, and Women for Women International, WRA celebrated the IWD centennial as a catalyst for galvanizing a new generation to take action for gender equality, emphasizing the message that all efforts to improve the lives of girls and women are fundamental to reaching MDG 5.

On an international level, the organization invited people everywhere to take part in two campaigns: ”Dreams for My Daughter” and the ”Global Dinner Party” initiative. National WRA alliances, such as WRA-India, also hosted special events to inspire action on maternal health in the countries where they operate

Sarah Brown calls for action against maternal mortality

To mark the 100th International Women’s Day, Sarah Brown , maternal champion and global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance and Former First Lady of the UK – called for more trained health workers to address the “great injustice of high maternal mortality and to improve infant and child survival and health.”

Harvard School of Public Health explores IWD's radical history & current realities

In honour of the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, The Harvard School of Public Health organized an evening to discuss the day's history and modern significance, including a panel discussion on current events and women’s lives in Egypt and Tunisia.

2011 CARE Conference & International Women's Day Celebration

8 – 10 March 2011 – This year’s CARE Conference marks two very special occasions: the 100th Celebration of International Women's Day and CARE's 65th anniversary!

WRA/SOGC luncheon celebrating women, health and equality

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health are bringing Canadians together for a special luncheon in celebration of women, health and equality.

Women Deliver list recognizes top 100 individuals delivering for women & girls

In the run up to the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, Women Deliver released its list of the hundred most inspiring people who have delivered for girls and women throughout the past 100 years.