If you’re a follower of women’s rights NGO’s on Twitter, or you’re friends with a raging feminist on Facebook, it probably isn’t news to you that this Saturday March 8th marks International Women’s Day.

Instagram photos are taken, hashtags created and sure enough International Women’s Day enters the social media world for 24 hours, only to exit again for another 365 days where the conversations created will be lost into the Twitter-sphere.

Reflecting on this, I was uncomfortable with my lack of knowledge over this annual celebration.

So, I researched and found answers. The history of this day goes beyond and far before the digital age, in fact the first activities from this day could be found in 1909 when the Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.

The rest as they say, is history. Since then, International Women’s Day has grown on a global scale, significantly playing a role in the hearts and minds of women in developed and developing countries alike. A growing international movement strengthened by the acquisition of the United Nations, International Women’s Day has helped attract attention to women’s rights in political and economical arenas, become a time of reflection on the progress in these areas, and to celebrate the achievements of women in the past, present and future.

“It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.”

It is a time for commemoration, celebration and conversation. But let’s not forget to continue the conversation when the day is done. Do your research and engage in the history of the great women that have gone before us.

Here’s a clip to get you going.

Image credit: cdsessums via Flickr Creative Commons