International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day of celebration for the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women marked annually on 8 March, IWD is also an opportunity to reflect on and further push towards gender parity. Source

Women’s rights have advanced in most of the world’s regions. Some historians consider the 20th century the century of women. This is given the unthinkable steps towards equality that have been reached.


International Women’s Day, also known as IWD for short, grew out of the labor movement to become an annual event recognized by the United Nations. The seeds were planted in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York demanding shorter working hours, better pay, and the right to vote. A year later, the Socialist Party of America declared the first National Woman’s Day.

Clara Zetkin, a communist activist and advocate for women’s rights, suggested the creation of an international day. She put her idea to an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910 and the 100 women there, from 17 countries, agreed to it unanimously.

IWD was first celebrated in 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. The centenary was celebrated in 2011, so this year we’re technically celebrating the 111th. Things were made official in 1975 when the United Nations started celebrating the day. The first theme adopted (in 1996) was “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future”. 

IWD to date is to commemorate demonstrations by women fighting back discrimination, denouncing unbearable working and living conditions, and advocating for equal rights and equal access to opportunities.  BBC News

This year’s theme; #BreakTheBias, relates to the contemporary events revolving around gender inequality; discrimination, stereotypes, and bias and how a world free of such can be created. This asks us all to take action and level the playing field. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias can make it difficult for women to move ahead in life. One may ask, how can I break the break? Well, the following tips will be of good guide; Source

  • Increase contact with people who are different from you.
  • Notice positive examples.
  • Be specific in your intent.
  • Change the way you do things.
  • Heighten your awareness.
  • Take care of yourself.

None of these approaches alone will help us overcome our bias. And even collectively they will only work if we accept that we have implicit biases and commit to diligent self-awareness. We must see ourselves clearly before we can begin to see others clearly. 

At Bridge Connect Africa Initiative, IWD is celebrated remarkably and part of the activities for this years’ celebration include hosting five influential women in Kano State, who have distinguished themselves exceptionally in their spheres, even in the face of challenges. Also, conducting a secondary school outreach, where 50 secondary school adolescents will be enlightened on the basics of Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

In summary, IWD is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, men, and those who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities to promote womens right.

Happy International Women’s Day! 



Written by Favour Christiana Ogbuagu.

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