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International Women's Day 2021 quotes and messages

In previous years, International Women's Day was celebrated with festivals, marathons and other events across the world. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, events will be virtual.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - MARCH 08:  Filipino activists march on the streets of Manila leading to the Malacanang in the nations capital to mark International Womens Day,  on March 8, 2021 in Manila, Philippines. The protesters expressed their views, denouncin
Jes AznarGetty Images

"A challenged world is an alert world," the International Women's Day website says. "We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality."

International Women’s Day has been observed for more than a century since it began in 1911. The day recognises the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally, and it's a call to action for gender parity.

In previous years, International Women's Day was celebrated with festivals, marathons and other events across the world. But with the covid-19 pandemic, most events will be virtual.

This year the theme is based on the challenges brought about by the pandemic, and is titled "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world".

Gender parity in government, workplaces, health care, sports and media coverage is achievable through individual change, organisers say. They hope this year’s theme for International Women's Day - #ChooseToChallenge - will inspire individuals to challenge biases, question stereotypes and celebrate the achievements of women around the world.

The history of International Women's Day

The leader of the Women's Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, Clara Zetkin, suggested a celebration in every country on the same day for women to "press for their demands." This Women's Day was first observed on March 19, 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Campaigns across Europe against WWI inspired women in other countries to adopt International Women's Day.

How is the day celebrated?

Owing to the pandemic, celebrations for this year's International Women's Day have gone virtual. For example in Atlanta, the Urban Wine Collective will host a virtual happy hour. Meanwhile, the Dallas Arboretum has scheduled a day of activities to highlight the contributions of women in STEM.

How to participate in International Women's Day

Organisers are asking supporters to "strike the Choose To Challenge pose and share on social media using #ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021."

The pose is simply raising your hand high to "show your commitment to choose to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world," the website says.

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