International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the historical, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also is a day of action in support of taking action against gender inequality around the world. We all know the world couldn’t run without women (we mean, just listen to Beyoncé). This is the day to appreciate their efforts! Organizations large and small come together to show women just how valuable they are to today’s society.
Why International Women's Day is Important
A. It’s international and inter-organizational
No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day was established and has been celebrated since the 1990s! As Gloria Steinem says, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” We agree! The day is all about intersectionality, whether that's the organizations which support IWF or the type of women IWF celebrates.
B. It’s a holiday worldwide
IWD is an official holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues and more with flowers and small gifts. There might be cultural differences between countries, but appreciation of women and their accomplishment transcends all boundaries!
C. It raises awareness around the world
It may seem that we have progressed very far by 2016. Some progress has been made, yes. However, a recent study of 145 nations showed that there's still a gender gap. Iceland has come closest to equality in economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment, and that's definitely a start. But in other places like Yemen, women are only considered half a witness in court cases. They're even forbidden to leave the house without their husband’s permission. IWF was created to strive toward a standard of gender equality for all countries. Because, as we all know, raising awareness about women’s plight around the world helps elevate all women.
How to Observe International Women's Day
1. Do like they do in the rest of the world!
Send a bouquet, thank you card or some small gift to your mother, sister or co-worker. It’s guaranteed to brighten their day, give you a boost in their eyes and help commemorate a wonderful day.
2. Find a local fun run, event or speaker
Get involved in your local area, make new friends, attend cool women’s focused events or get back in shape — all while supporting a fantastic cause.
3. Participate even after IWD is over
The best way to continue the mission of International Women’s Day is to help make a change in your community. That means that change can't stop after IWD! Take action that will persist even beyond International Women’s Day and help close your community’s gender gap.
International Women's Day - Survey Results
THE BIGGEST ISSUES FACING AMERICAN WOMEN TODAY
#1: Unequal pay (23%)
#2: The ability to balance a career and children (22%)
#3: Sexual violence (15%)
#4: Sexual objectification (15%)
#5: Reproductive rights (11%)
#6: Underrepresentation in politics (7%)
#7: Underrepresentation in business leadership (6%)