INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2023: The stereotype that pink is for girls and blue is for boys, does not hold true when it comes to representing International Women’s Day. The global occasion celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women is actually represented by three colours: Purple, Green and White.
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According to the International Women’s Day (IWD) website, Purple, Green and White are the colours of International Women’s Day. The colours originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the United Kingdom in 1908. The Purple signifies justice and dignity; green symbolises hope; white represents purity.
The WSPU was a militant wing of the British suffrage movement and was founded in Manchester in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst. The WSPU, along with the more conservative National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), sought the right to vote for women in a country that had expressly denied women suffrage in 1832.
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In the United States, the purple, white, and gold combination was used by the National Woman’s Party. The organisation described the meaning of these colours in a newsletter published December 6, 1913, “Purple is the color of loyalty, constancy to purpose, unswerving steadfastness to a cause. White, the emblem of purity, symbolises the quality of our purpose; and gold, the color of light and life, is as the torch that guides our purpose, pure and unswerving.”
The colour white often found its place in the flags of the suffragist’s movement. Suffragists were often portrayed as masculine and ugly by the anti-feminist. In order to counter that anti-suffrage media image, suffragists wore dresses in parades that were often all white, with suffrage sashes. These white dresses symbolised the femininity and purity of the suffrage cause.
Wearing purple on this day shows that you are joining other women across the world in solidarity to celebrate this special day which also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
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