Goal 5: Gender Equality

Celebrating International Women’s Day around the world

From gifting flowers to offering time off, here’s how International Women’s Day is celebrated around the globe. 

By Jessica jurkschat
4 March 2022

In 1975, the UN marked 8th March as International Women’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate women’s achievements and fight for gender equality and women’s rights. Now, it’s an official holiday in 27 countries around the world.

From gifting flowers and sweet treats to offering time off work, here’s how International Women’s Day is celebrated around the globe. 


Argentina has recognised International Women’s Day since the early 1900s. Traditionally, women are given gifts and flowers as a token of appreciation. However, over recent years, women have used the day to fight for gender equality, social change, equal pay and reproductive rights. 

Something to celebrate in recent years... in 2020, Argentina became the third South American country (alongside Uruguay and Guyana) to legalise abortion - a historic moment for women’s rights.


International Women’s Day has been an official holiday in China since 1949. Along with being given flowers and special gifts, women are also allowed a half-day off work so they can spend the afternoon celebrating.


Whilst the whole of Germany doesn’t recognise the day as a public holiday, Berlin’s parliament declared International Women’s Day, known as Frauentag, as a public holiday in 2019. This means that all workers in the German capital get the day off work to celebrate.


In Italy, 8th March is more commonly known as La Festa Della Donna. Although it is not a public holiday, it is tradition to give women bunches of bright yellow Mimosa flowers as a symbol of love, appreciation and solidarity. Some Italians also celebrate the day by making a traditional sponge cake designed to resemble the small blooms of the mimosa flower.


In Poland, International Women’s Day is a day promoting respect for women and giving gifts. After World War II, it was a mandatory day of celebration in schools and workplaces and women were gifted with carnations or hard to find products like tights, towels or coffee. The tradition of giving flowers is still around to this day, this time, the most popular being tulips. 


Russia has marked 8th March as a public holiday since 1965 and is considered one of the birthplaces of International Women’s Day. The day was originally deemed as a day of feminist action but has since morphed into a romantic occasion where women are gifted flowers, chocolates and champagne. 


Spain is known for having some of the largest women’s marches in Europe. All over the country, people dress in purple (the official colour of International Women’s Day) and take to the streets to march for women’s rights and greater gender equality.


Uganda has celebrated International Women’s Day since 1984, and in 1991, it was declared an official holiday. Each year, the government picks a different theme to focus on - this year’s theme is Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.


The UK uses International Women’s Day to raise awareness of social and political issues affecting women. Events take place all over the country with the aim to raise funds for charities dedicated to women’s rights. Some fashion brands also use it as a moment to collaborate with women’s charities through sales of special International Women’s Day pieces. In the past, our parent company BOTTLETOP worked with Leather Inside Out, a prison rehabilitation charity, to create a special edition red flower pin.


International Women’s Day isn’t a public holiday in the USA, but the whole of March is Women’s History Month. On 8th March, the President makes an official statement to honour the achievements of American women and schools across the country use the week to champion female empowerment in the classroom.
This article was originally published in February 2021 and has since been updated.

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