The United States first observed IWD on February 28th, 1909, inspired by a declaration made by the Socialist Party. The following year, Copenhagen played host to the first international women's conference; then, in 1911, IWD was acknowledged and celebrated by over a million people. Two weeks later, 146 lives - mostly female workers - were lost in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. IWD has since become an annual holiday observed in an amazing number of countries.
Today, I had the pleasure of listening to actor, activist, and archer Geena Davis speak on the topic of gender equality. As the founder of The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, she has been actively involved in studies detailing and discussing how females are depicted in media, and on the gender imbalance. In their own words, from the institute's website:
"The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media works with entertainment creators and companies, educates the next generation of content-creators, and informs the public about the need to increase the number of girls and women in media aimed at kids and to reduce stereotyping of both males and females."
On February 22nd, 2010, The United Nations Economic and Social Council held a special event called Engaging Philanthropy to Promote Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, and Geena delivered the closing keynote address. Watch it here.
Geena portrayed the first female President of the United States on the TV series Commander in Chief, which ran from September 2005 through June 2006 on ABC. If you enjoyed this show, or like the sound of it, I highly recommend Ellen Emerson White's novels about Meg, the daughter of the first female president. Long May She Reign, the fourth book in the line, was our featured book pick at readergirlz in November 2008. Read the books in order: The President's Daughter; White House Autumn; Long Live the Queen; and Long May She Reign. (Related post: Roundtable: Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White)
In honor of IWD 2010, The International Red Cross is attempting to raise awareness of women displaced by armed conflicts worldwide. Click here for an interview with Nadine Puechguirbal, the ICRC adviser on women and war.
Also: A statement from Inés Alberdi, the Executive Director of United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
So, ladies, how did you celebrate today?
 According to Wikipedia, this holiday is observed by Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Italy, Israel, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Spain, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia.
 In 1999, Geena participated in the archery semifinals for a spot on the United States Olympics archery team. 300 women competed; Geena placed 24th!