International Women's Day: What's it all about?

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. In 1911, the first year the day was celebrated internationally, women could not vote in most countries. Today, women serve as presidents of nations and corporations.

What countries celebrate it?

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    First Lady Michelle Obama (l.) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton host the International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony at the State Department in Washington on March 8. Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day.
    Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
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International Women’s Day is a national holiday in 25 countries, including Afghanistan and Zambia, and is celebrated in many more countries. The United Kingdom alone has more than 450 events planned to commemorate the day, while Canada, the United States, and Australia each have about 250 events planned, according to the International Women's Day website. In many of those countries that honor it as a national holiday, women are presented with flowers, cards, and gifts by husbands, sons, colleagues, and other men in the community.

In the US, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama will present 10 women from around the world with the 2011 International Women of Courage awards. Many of these women hail from countries such as Afghanistan and Iran and are fighting for not just the betterment of women in their societies – with campaigns to integrate women into police forces and ensure the delivery of services for women – but the population as a whole with campaigns for stronger guarantees of human rights and assistance for refugees.

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