March 8th is National Women's Day (IWD)! Frankly, I think every day should be International Women's Day, but I might be slightly biased, being a woman and all.

According to the official website, International Women's Day has been observed since the 1900's, with the first one being held in 1909. While it started in the US, IWD has grown and now is truly international.

IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. 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.

Now, annually on March 8, 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, theatrical performances, fashion parades and more.

Here in Grand Rapids, there are a few events planned. At 5 p.m., the Refugee Services Program in Grand Rapids is sponsoring a “Join Me On the Bridge” event which starts at 5 p.m. at Ferris State’s Riverfront Café, 219 N. Front Street. After events at the café, participants will march across the Fulton Street Bridge.