Why it Matters
It’s easy to get busy and miss occasions such as International Women’s Day. Maybe you’re not sure what it’s all about? Or wonder if it really matters? Well, it does. And for many reasons. Not the least of which is that whoever you are and no matter your achievement, if you are a women, you are living in a ‘gender imbalanced’ world. And this is why this year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BetterforBalance.
Luckily the campaign website makes a very simple case for everyone getting on board:
Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage …Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.
International Women’s Day in History
As always we owe a debt of gratitude to the women who fought for equal rights years ago and every decade since. In fact, the first International Women’s Day was in 1911. The history leading up to the day and what it’s meant after is an important read for everyone. It’s a day to celebrate women’s achievements and to promote gender parity. Most importantly, there is no one organization behind the day. While many organizations and companies promote International Women’s Day, it’s considered a globally unifying event. The colors purple, green and white are used in even material. Purple is the international color for women and also signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope and white means purity.
The campaign around this year’s day is a yearlong effort. There are fun social media components, like encouraging men and women to post selfies with arms up showing ‘balance.’ But also to really consider each day what you are doing to promote gender equality. How are we speaking up at work? Or helping our daughters and sons participate in a more balanced way? Is it through encouraging co-ed sports and activities; or thinking about the ways we may express (or accept bias) that makes the difference. Friday the 8th is a great day to think about how you can help to create and encourage more gender balance.
The United Nations Campaign
This year the United Nations has a slightly different theme for the day: “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” Besides having some incredible content and resources on their website, the UN campaign also includes a social media component:
United Nations #WomensDay social media challenge
- Follow @UN_Women to take one of the fun and inspiring daily challenges they list. This is a great one to do with your children.
- There is of course the automatic emoji on Twitter with #WomensDay
- Another thing that the UN is doing (which is pretty darn cool) is providing a dropbox folder with social media assets in multiple languages. You can pick it all up here.
Attend an International Women’s Day Event
Hopefully with a bit of notice readers can consider attending one of the International Women’s Day events around the world. There are thousands of events around the world, you can search here for an event near you. Here is an example of what’s happening where we live in New York City:
- The Apple Store in Williamsburg is hosting a number of music-inspired events over the coming days and weeks. See more here.
- General Assembly is hosting a ‘Women in Tech Breakfast – Building Inclusive Teams for Success’ on March 7th, register here.
- Five Renowned New York Chefs Curate ‘The Immigration of Flavor’ at the James Beard House on March 8th at 7pm, tickets can be purchased here.
- Fordham is hosting the ‘Women in Business Conference – Moves that Matter’
on March 8th, register here.
- There is also an International Women’s Day Celebration in Washington Square Park, RSVP here.
That’s just a sampling of local events and we hope you’ll see what’s happening by you! There are also a number of exciting corporate campaigns and initiatives to keep your eyes out for.
Articles and Resources
Finally, there are a number of ways to better understand what is happening and how you can take a stand. Here are a few resources & articles we’ve been reading:
- International Women’s Day website articles – there is news, ideas for hosting event and other high quality articles that will be posted throughout the year.
- Did you know that the bicycle changed a lot for women – from the perception of their strength to ability to move around and dress differently. This is just one of the many great insights on the UN’s website.
- Dreamworks is celebrating using its She-Ra character to help parents talk to girls about empowerment. Here are some of the materials here.
- Romper has a nice list of what you can do with your kids to acknowledge the day.
- Great opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald remind us about how everyday should be International Women’s Day (and that a tee-shirt and goody bag may not be enough).
- ‘Five Truly Feminist Clothing Brands to Support on International Women’s Day’ (and on that note – we’d recommend you check out Loskey)
We will continue to update the list over the next few days!