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International Women’s Day celebrates the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women across the globe. But far from singling out women, the day focuses on unity, equality and advocacy – especially in a world where the differences and injustices between women and men are as great as ever.

Over 20 countries – particularly in Asia – celebrate it with a day off work for all, while another three (including China) allow all women to take a day off. Although many people who seem to have a problem with the concept of International Women’s Day may think it’s a modern invention, it’s anything but; its first official acknowledgement was back in 1911, and became a cornerstone holiday in the Soviet Union from 1917 (even being a day off from work from 1965 onwards). Since 1977, the United Nations has made it a focus day for both women’s rights and world peace.

And before you ask – yes, there is an International Men’s Day, on November 19th. For what it’s worth, you can enjoy Richard Herring (@Herring1967) respond to each and every Twitter user who asks this question over these 24 hours that women are celebrated.

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