If you are a female reading this on March 8th, then congratulations! Today is International Women’s Day, which means that today is all about you.
International Women’s Day (IWD), which was first observed by the United Nations on March 8, 1975, is a day set aside to honor and celebrate women of every country, creed, and tongue, and to highlight the status of women globally.
IWD began with activities of labor movements in North America and Europe, and it is now recognized globally, even in developing countries. The international women’s movement has been able to help build a support system for women’s rights.The day is meant to be used as a time to remember progress made, celebrate the courageous acts by every woman who has taken a stand, and be a call to action and change.
This year is no different. The general theme is “Inspiring Change,” which serves as a reminder that things are still unequal, and we can all, regardless of gender, work for that to change. Some organizations declare their own themes for the day as a means of working within their own context. For example, the UN’s theme for this year is “Equality for women is progress for all,” and one way they are advocating this is through their #HeforShe campaign.
This campaign encourages men to use the hashtag #HeforShe to speak out against gender inequality. They are also invited to record a video to be featured on the organization’s YouTube channel in order to spread the message. And that message is clear: “Women’s equality is human equality.”
Events are held around the world on March 8th to celebrate, and they can be searched by country on the IWD website. There are actually 238 events taking place in the United States alone. Among these are the following:
A Twitter Takeover by Women’s World Banking is taking place which hosts an AMA of sorts with program experts answering your questions.
Donations can be made (and will be matched dollar-for-dollar) at the Lotus Outreach, a program that’s been working to empower women in India and Cambodia for over 20 years.
The Aspire Foundation is celebrating “Ordinary, Extraordinary Women” who have passed away that made a difference in our lives. People have submitted entries about the women in their lives who have inspired them, and the stories go live on their website today.
These are just a few of the many events happening today across the world that will remind people that women are to be celebrated and respected. We here at GERM would like to encourage you to go out and speak up, whether its through one of these planned events or even just on your own.
Another way to get involved is through the Global IWD Arts Initiative. This was started in 2011 to honor the first hundred years of IWD, and it shares the artwork — including writings, photographs, drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc. — of diverse women. Its goal is to “inspire, challenge, entertain and provoke thought from a gender angle.”
So, ladies, I’m going to end with three important things to remember this International Women’s Day:
1) Women have come a long way with regards to rights and freedoms and that is fantastic and should be celebrated!
2) We cannot become complacent because we’ve come “far enough”. If women in the past had given up/gotten comfortable with their lot in life, then none of us would be able to vote, and that is the God’s honest truth.
3) There is still a lot of work ahead of us when it comes to gender equality, but with the amount of women making their voices heard, and with the unparalleled power of this generation, this is undoubtedly a time when positive change can and will occur.
Happy International Women’s Day from all of us at GERM. Ladies of the world, we salute you.