International Women’s Day falls on March 8 and is a symbol of the struggles that women around the world have undergone to gain equality and rights. It is also a reminder of how far there is still to go. There are some things that you can do to help celebrate this important day. Educate yourself by learning more about women and their struggles worldwide. Get politically involved by donating to a pro-women organization. Raise awareness of women’s issues using social media. Be supportive to the women in your life. Let them know how much they mean to you.
- Learn the history of International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day celebrates the accomplishments of women, as well as recognizing their achievements and the struggles that they’ve gone through. It was a part of the labor movements that began in the early 1900s in America and Europe. Read up on the history of International Women’s Day online to understand the purpose of the holiday.
- The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1909 to honor the 1908 garment women’s strike in New York. The women were protesting their horrific working conditions.
- As time went on, International Women’s Day continued to be a vehicle of protest. During World War I, for example, the day was used to protest the war.
- In 1975, the holiday was recognized by the United Nations and continues to be celebrated today.
- Learn about the achievements of women around the world. Women are often routinely overlooked in history. Go online or stop by a local library to read up on the history of women whose historical contributions are left out of history.
- For example, look at Rosalind Franklin. Her study of DNA was critical to Francis Crick, James Watson, Maurice Wilkins, but was completely ignored by the Nobel Prize committee.
- There have been many female rulers throughout history who are not widely known. Look at Juana of Austria, who served as a capable regent between 1554-9, and who remained a key figure in the Spanish court.
- Do some reading. In order to educate yourself about historical women, stop by a library or bookstore and purchase some books. Read up on women throughout the world and throughout history who have made a difference.
- Read critical works of feminism and theory, such as The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.
- Read books about women throughout the world. Mona Eltahawy, for example, is a writer who writes about Middle Eastern women.
- Check out Why I Call Myself a Feminist, edited by Victoria Pepe. This is a collection of essays by 25 women under 30 covering their feelings about women’s issues and feminism.
- Watch informative films. There are many movies you can watch to educate yourself about women and women’s history. Have a movie night with your friends and watch films about women, especially women from other countries or cultures.
- To learn about international issues, watch movies such as Syria’s Rebellious Women.
- To learn about women in the international work force, consider watching Who’s counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics.
- See if there are any film screenings or festivals in your area. This can be a great way to socialize with other women and educate yourself further.
- Go to local museums. Check out museums and art installations near you. Many museums may have special exhibits for International Women’s Day that showcase work by women engineers, writers, artists, and more. If museums are not having special events, you can simply attend a museum in your area and look at exhibits focusing on women.
Getting Politically Involved
- Take the day off, if possible. There is a nation-wide protest in which women are encouraged to take the day off. This can highlight women’s effect on the global economy. If you’re able to do so, consider skipping work on Wednesday to promote International Women’s Day.
- If you can’t take the day off, avoid making purchases on International Women’s Day. This can also affect the economy.
- Donate to a local women’s shelter. You can donate money, clothing, food, or your time. Helping out a local women’s shelter helps to remind you about the difficulties women continue to face, as well as doing your part to help alleviate some of that.
- You could turn it into an event with your friends. Get everyone you know to help celebrate the day by helping out a local women’s shelter.
- Participate in a protest. There are many protests taking place on International Women’s Day. Seek out a protest in your area in order to show your support for women and their contributions to the world. You can look online to find protests or ask local political organizations, such as your local League of Women Voters, if any protests are occurring.
- Look for marathons or walks. Many areas host marathons or walks to raise awareness or money. See if there is a local walk in your area. Marching, running, or walking with other women can help raise awareness for the struggles of women around the world.
- Find a bridge walk. The nonprofit Women for Women International organizes bridge walks all across the world, form Canada all the way to China. Their aim is to raise awareness about what female survivors of war face every day. See if you can find a bridge walk in your area.
- Volunteer. Consider actively participating in creating fair wages for women, supporting reproductive rights and care, and legislation that promotes equality. Look into things like women’s health clinics or your local Planned Parenthood. See if they’re in need of volunteers. If an organization is hosting a special event for International Women’s Day, they may need volunteers to help out.
- Make a commitment to volunteering longterm. Organizations are always in need of helpful volunteers to keep things running smoothly.
- Wear red. Women around the world are wearing red to raise awareness of International Women’s Day. Make a point of throwing a red shirt, dress, pair of pants, or any other red outfits you have. This can draw attention to your commitment to the day.
- If you can’t find any red clothing, do something like red nail polish or red jewelry.
- Look for ways to share your story. Many women have stories to share. You may have a story where you felt discriminated against. You may also have a story of how you triumphed over adversity. Look for outlets to share your story, like open mic nights, or post something on your Facebook page sharing a story related to women’s issues.
- Some websites, like Sisterhood Agenda, are inviting people to email in their stories. See if you can find a website that wants to hear your story.
- Use social media. Social media can be a great tool to raise awareness. Use your Facebook and Twitter feed to post facts about famous women or link to articles about the struggles of women worldwide. Search hashtags about International Women’s Day (i.e., #InternationalWomensDay) to see what others are sharing and re-tweet or re-post compelling articles.
Celebrating Individual Women
- Help out a close female friend or family member. This can be anything from taking care of your sister’s children for the evening or doing all housework for your mother. If you know a female in need, make extra effort to help her out for International Women’s Day.
- Consider making a pledge to an important woman in your life that you will continue to help her out throughout the year. For example, promise your wife or girlfriend you will help support her career more.
- Tell a woman what she means to you. This could be your boss, a family member, your significant other, or a friend. You should tell her why she is important and all the things she does well. For instance, if it’s your boss, tell her why she’s a great boss and how much you’ve enjoyed working for her.
- You can use social media to do this. Share a post celebrating the women in your life.
- Thank the women in your life. Don’t just tell them why they are important. Thank them for being there for you and for doing what they do. This could be as simple as thanking your mother for helping to raise you or thanking a female friend for helping out during tough times in your life.
- You can also thank women you do not know. Post something thanking a famous woman for making strides for equality, for example.
- Anyone can help celebrate this date; encourage those around you to do so.
- Don’t talk over women, when you’re discussing women’s rights and the importance of this day. This is an area that they have more experience with and knowledge about.