ASSOCIATING colours to express oneself has always been a very normal practice. Some colours have come to be associated with gender, like baby pink for women and sky blue for men.
The United Nations Organisation (UNO) assigns a theme for International Women’s Day every year. The theme for Women’s Day 2022 is – “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”.
Further, the International Women’s Day (IWD) website also mentions the significance of three colours that are assigned for Women’s Day. These colours are green, white and purple which depict the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of a woman and have a historical record of movements related to empowerment, equality and basic rights.
While green and white represent hope and purity respectively, what is the significance of purple?
Colours have meaning; purple indicates royalty, visionary thinking and as mentioned by the IWD website, dignity and Justice. The reason to choose purple as a focused colour for the Women’s Day theme is because of its historical significance.
In 1908, the United Kingdom’s Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) first used purple alongside green and white. WSPU was an organisation that led Britain’s women’s suffrage movement in the early 20th century. Their basic demands were to bring ‘justice’ in terms of equality which in turn could help women maintain their ‘dignity’.
Purple was also a part of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1960s, and has always symbolised gender equality..
Purple highlights feminism. “Colour trendsetter Pantone selected “ultra-violet” as its 19th “Colour of the Year” to communicate “originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking that points us towards the future,” according to the IWD website.
The IWD website also quotes Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated Historical Study by Kenneth Florey to highlight why purple is used. “Suffragettes fighting for the right to vote, purple represented the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette,” the organisation refers to the book.
The book The Color Purple by Alice Walker crystallised the significance of the colour and its relation to the women’s movement. Alice Walker is also the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1983.
Purple now denotes equality, dignity and a vision for a better future of women across the world.