While the current social environment has shined a spotlight on women’s rights, International Women’s Day has actually existed since 1975; when the United Nations officially made March 8 the annual date of recognition of women, their struggles, their rights, and their achievements.
Women around the world have celebrated one another’s strengths and accomplishments for decades. So what can women and men do to mark the day, or simply continuously recognize the greatness that is woman? Here are some ideas:
Host a Gathering
Invite a group of your favourite women to a dinner out or a special pot luck at your place. Hold space for one another to talk about your accomplishments and applaud them all. While women need their friends for support when they air their grievances, try to make this gathering a positive space to celebrate one another! Get everyone to share what they think are each other’s best qualities and achievements.
Pass it on to the Next Generation
Women will continue to be strong and work towards true gender parity only if the coming generations realize their worth. If you have a daughter, do something to celebrate her! Make sure she knows how valuable she is and what her own strengths are. Give her some age-appropriate lessons about feminism and the women’s movements over the years so she has a sense of belonging and a desire to continue the work that other strong women before her started.
Include the Men in Your Life
Sit your sons and men in your life down and teach them about women. Read up together and chat about the history of strong women who have helped motivate world change, have discussions on respect for women and consent, or even watch movies that depict women positively. These are all great ways to ensure boys and young men are not left feeling International Women’s Day has nothing to do with them. Ensure they understand what being supportive allies is all about!
Attend an Event
Nothing makes a woman feel more empowered than joining other like-minded women and collectively commemorating the force of women working together. Most major cities have some sort of even planned, so find one near you and plan to take your whole family! Make a difference. It’s great to mark the history and past achievements of other women, but it’s even better to make a firm plan to do something yourself in the future. Find something that interests you in the women’s movement, and commit your support in whatever ways you can. There’s still work to be done!
Make it Personal
Plan to thank the special women in your life. Your mom, grandmother, aunties, teachers, a mentor, friend or boss — send cards, flowers, special greetings or share a coffee or meal with important women who have made a difference to you personally and deserve their greatness to be recognized, not just on International Women’s Day, but all the time.