HOW DIGITAL HELPED INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
In today’s world of social media, International Women’s day has firmly established its place on the world’s agenda. All this week feeds have been flooded with inspiring posts about women from all over the globe. At Twist we have also been shining our spotlight on the women that inspire and influence us across our social media, including our wonderful colleagues and of course our inspiring founder, Chrissie Plunkett.
While it’s undeniable that women have had it harder throughout history, the message of international women’s day is about celebrating exceptional women. Pioneering women. Inspiring women. All because they have achieved great things, despite challenges they may have faced along the way because of their gender.
Reading through the coverage it’s hard not to take positivity from the outpouring of respect and recognition for women who have influenced and inspired people. Many people might not know however, that in fact, International Women’s Day has been in existence since the early 1900s. While the day found support throughout the decades, it was actually revived in the millennium through a digital marketing strategy.
When and how did International Women’s Day start?
The concept of an Internationally celebrated day recognising women was put forward in Copenhagen by a lady called Clara Zetkin who was leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany. She tabled the idea at the 1910 International Conference of Working Women (the second event of its kind) held in Denmark.
Zetkin suggested that every year, in every country on the same day there should be a celebration – a Woman’s Day – to press for more rights. More than 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties and working women’s clubs were at the conference, including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament. Zetkin’s idea received unanimous approval, paving the way for the first International Women’s Day.
The first was held the following year in 1911 and was honoured in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19th March. More than a million people – both women and men – attended rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination.
In 1913 it was decided that going forward, the day would be on March 8th and it has been globally ever since.
International Women’s Day was officially adopted by the United Nations in 1975.
Why is the campaign’s colour purple?
Purple has historically and internationally been used as a colour to symbolise women. It originated from Women’s Social and Political Union (SPU) (better known as the Suffragettes) in the UK in 1908. The SPU chose purple to represent “The royal blood that flows in the veins of every Suffragette”, but it has since come to represent justice and dignity. Green symbolises hope. White was chosen by the suffragettes to represent ‘purity’ but has since been removed to reflect modern attitudes towards the concept.
International Women’s Day in 2020.
Working in the creative communications and marketing industry we know the impact of a great marketing strategy and campaign. The fascinating thing about the reach and engagement that the day now has, is that is partly down to a digital strategy created at the turn of the millennium. Support for the day was starting wane as we entered the new millennium, with feminism no longer the hot topic.
To counter this, the International Women’s Day digital hub was born. The platform was launched to re-energize the day as an important place to celebrate the successful achievements of women and to continue calls for accelerating gender parity. The site attracts huge amounts of traffic every year and is used by millions of people and companies around the world to share and download material and resources related to the day.
In some countries the day is an official public holiday where men celebrate the women in their lives, similar to Mother’s Day. In the age of digital sharing, where we can inform ourselves about anything, perhaps our children will grow up seeing International Women’s Day as a staple on the annual holiday calendar.
Hopefully they will simply use it to acknowledge how someone important has touched their lives – men or women – inspired them and influenced them and to simply let that person know it.
Meanwhile, we’ll keep recognising the importance of getting people talking and creating conversations.