International Women’s Day – March 8th – A Celebration of Women Around the World

Today marks International Women’s Day.? On this day, we bring awareness to the contributions of women around the world and also recognize some of the cultural restrictions and inequalities women suffer.? Today is a day of celebration when we reflect on the stories, successes and courageous acts of women in our lives and around the world.

Remember to acknowledge those special people, whether it is a call, letter, email or a hug.

We live in a complex world that can only survive through acts of humanity, respect and kindness.? Let us not forget we live in shared space.

Learn more about this day and its history below:

Brief History:

International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900’s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.

Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women’s oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.

n 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin’s suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day was the result.

Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women’s Day (IWD) was honoured the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic ‘Triangle Fire’ in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women’s Day events. 1911 also saw women’s ‘Bread and Roses’ campaign.

On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women’s Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Wommen’s Day ever since. In 1914 further women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women’s solidarity.

On the last Sunday of February, Russian women began a strike for “bread and peace” in response to the death over 2 million Russian soldiers in war. Opposed by political leaders the women continued to strike until four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. The date the women’s strike commenced was Sunday 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was 8 March.

1918 – 1999
Since its birth in the socialist movement, International Women’s Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. For decades, IWD has grown from strength to strength annually. For many years the United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women’s rights and participation in social, political and economic processes. 1975 was designated as ‘International Women’s Year’ by the United Nations. Women’s organisations and governments around the world have also observed IWD annually on 8 March by holding large-scale events that honor women’s advancement and while diligently reminding of the continued vigilance and action required to ensure that women’s equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life.

2000 and beyond
IWD is now an official holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.

Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.
Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google some years even changes its logo on its global search pages. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status. The United States even designates the whole month of March as ‘Women’s History Month’.
So make a difference, think globally and act locally !! Make everyday International Women’s Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.

Blackbaud Hosts Emerging Female Leader from South Africa as part of Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership Program

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Blackbaud Hosts Emerging Female Leader, Vuyiswa Mutshekwane from South Africa, as part of Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women?s Mentoring Partnership Program (PRNewsfoto/Blackbaud)

CHARLESTON, S.C., March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —?Today, on International Women’s Day, Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB), the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good, is pleased to announce that the company will again host an emerging businesswoman mentee as a part of this year’s Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership program facilitated by the U.S. State Department and Fortune. Blackbaud welcomes Vuyiswa Mutshekwane, CEO of the South African Institute of Black Party Practitioners (SAIBPP) in Johannesburg, South Africa, for two weeks of on-site mentoring with its executive leaders.

The Fortune – U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership connects talented, emerging businesswomen from all over the world with top American female executives. With the goal of providing the international women with the skills and experience to support growth and prosperity in their countries, the program begins in Washington, D.C., where they meet with senior women in government, business, and the nonprofit sector. Their two-week onsite professional mentorships give them the opportunity to learn about building a business and critical leadership skills, and cultivate a valuable network of global professionals.

“We’re proud to participate in this program again to empower and support emerging leaders from around the world, advancing the status of women in business,” said Mike Gianoni, Blackbaud president and CEO. “I am proud of the great work our female leaders take on in their communities, sharing their expertise and wisdom with many important causes, such as the Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership program. We hope to provide Vuyiswa the tools she needs and access to networks for strengthening her business and home community after the program concludes.”

Each program participant is assigned a female executive mentor to help the mentee develop skills, network with international leaders, share best practices, and more. Mutshekwane will be paired up with mentor Amy Lucia, who is Blackbaud’s vice president of Corporate Marketing and a former nonprofit CMO. During her two-week visit, Mutshekwane will meet with Blackbaud executives, partner with Blackbaud innovation teams and meet prominent leaders in Charleston’s robust business community on topics including: business planning and strategy, leadership development, marketing and branding, and more.

“Many of Blackbaud’s customers are deeply involved in issues impacting women around the world and it’s imperative, now more than ever, that women everywhere are given access to platforms that enable them to develop their leadership capabilities and to take active roles in shaping society,” said Lucia. “Vuyiswa has built an impressive organization with great potential to scale. As someone who has personally benefited from great mentors and development opportunities throughout my career, I look forward to partnering with Vuyiswa to strengthen her networks and create experiential learning opportunities that will help take SAIBPP and those it empowers to new levels of impact.”

SAIBPP is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to address the under representation of previously marginalized groups including people of color, women and youth in the property industry and related value-chain.? The organization is tasked with creating, running and facilitating programs with a core focus on education, small and medium size enterprise development, skills development, and advocacy in the property sector and built environment. SAIBPP currently has 926 members comprised of corporate members, individuals and state-owned entities / government departments.

“I want to thank Fortune and the U.S. State Department for selecting me to participate in this special mentorship program,” said Mutshekwane. “Through this program and Blackbaud’s mentorship, I’ll be able to collaborate with innovative, purpose-driven leaders to help amplify the work we are currently doing, and most importantly, contribute positively to the future of Africa.”

For more information about Blackbaud, visit

About Blackbaud

Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) is the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good. Serving the entire social good community-nonprofits, foundations, corporations, education institutions, healthcare institutions and individual change agents-Blackbaud connects and empowers organizations to increase their impact through software, services, expertise, and data intelligence. The Blackbaud portfolio is tailored to the unique needs of vertical markets, with solutions for fundraising and CRM, marketing, advocacy, peer-to-peer fundraising, corporate social responsibility, school management, ticketing, grantmaking, financial management, payment processing, and analytics. Serving the industry for more than three decades, Blackbaud is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina and has operations in the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit?

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