GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids joined the celebration of women around the world Wednesday with a march.

Women and men wearing purple gathered in Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids. They waved flags of countries around the world.

“This day is a day to celebrate the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women,” said Mary Dailey Brown, President and CEO of Grand Rapids organization SowHope.

On International Women’s Day, countries around the world host celebrations and marches to honor women and their contributions. Purple is historically worn to represent justice, dignity and being loyal to the cause, according to the International Women’s Day website.

SowHope hosted a one-mile march around the city that began and ended at Rosa Parks Circle. It was not only a day to celebrate, but also to bring awareness.

“We want to bring awareness to the plight of women, especially in the third world. The inequalities that women have there, they really are lagging behind men, socially culturally, human rights and economically, so we want to call attention to that and stand in solidarity with the women that we support over there,” said Mary Dailey Brown, President and CEO of SowHope.

A ceremony was also held to honor two prominent women in Grand Rapids. President Philomena Mantella, president of Grand Valley State University, was awarded the Cultural Achievement Award for her contributions to education as the first woman president at the university.

Shelly Irwin, host and producer for the WGVU radio morning show, received the Social Achievement Award “for promoting the social good,” her plaque read.

Although it was sunny and 40 degrees for the March walk, Dailey Brown said she hopes people come out for years to come, even when the weather doesn’t feel like spring.

“We’re hoping that this happens every year, even if it’s a snowstorm,” said Dailey Brown. “We believe Michiganders are very hearty, and so they’ll come out for it if they know it’s a good time. So, we’re going to offer free cupcakes and hot cocoa after wards too,” said Dailey Brown.