International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

The idea of an IWD was first suggested in 1910 by Clara Zetkin, at the 2nd International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. Over 100 women from 17 countries unanimously approved the suggestion. One year later, on 19 March, over one million men and women attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained and to hold public office, and for an end to discrimination.

In 1913, the date for IWD was changed to 8 March and has remained so ever since. It has grown into a day of recognition and celebration globally and is now an official holiday in many countries.

Increasingly, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

To mark the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act which allowed women to practise as lawyers, Women in the Humanities and St Hugh’s College will be co-hosting a panel discussion on 8 March on the theme of ‘One Hundred years of Women Lawyers: How far have we come?’. A number of other events will be taking place across the University in the lead up to IWD – watch out for further details on the University website’s events page. To find out about events taking place across the city as part of the Oxford Women’s Festival, see:

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