International Women’s Day 2021 || Choose to Challenge
The Importance of International Women’s Day
Do you get involved in International Women’s Day? Have you even heard about it before and what it stands for? With so many national and internal days now, it can be easy to get lost in them all, there is even a ‘national shower with a friend day’! I mean, if that’s what floats your boat then go for it, but let’s keep it serious for a minute and explore what International Women’s Day is all about.
A brief history
International Women’s Day has a history that stretches back over 100 years. In 1908 over 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York, they were campaigning for better pay, shorter hours, and better working conditions as well as the right to vote. In 1909 America celebrated what was the first National Women’s Day, the next few years saw more campaigning, more change, and an international recognition of the inequality faced by women.
The idea of International Women’s Day was put forward by Clara Zetkin in 1910 at the Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, there was a unanimous vote for it and in 1911 multiple countries across the globe celebrated International Women’s Day together. It was around 1913 – 1914 when March 8th became the internationally recognised date for the campaign and celebrations and to this day, over 100 years later, International Women’s Day is still celebrated all across the globe on March 8th.
As the new millennium approached and the year 2000 rolled in, very few people were recognising and celebrating International Women’s Day, it had become a forgotten tradition and platform, and yet in reality so little had changed. Women were still at a disadvantage in the workplace in comparison to their male counter parts, forced marriages were still taking place, a woman’s role within the family dynamic was still viewed by many as one where she was the caretaker of the house and children, rather than an equal partner with her own dreams, goals, and ambitions.
In the last twenty years a new lease of life has been bought to International Women’s Day and it is once again celebrated and used as a platform for change across the globe. Millions of people now celebrate the day each year and they campaign for change for the better.
What does International Women’s Day mean to me or you?
Each one of us has a role to play in the world of change, we each have a voice that we can use to help bring understanding, and we can each celebrate the women in our lives and the women who have already created change for us. Whether you feel passionate about gender equality, the right to choose, or you want to show love and appreciation of other women then International Women’s Day is the perfect time for you to get involved and get your voice heard.
International Women’s Day is used now to shine a light on topics that the world might try to hide away from and ignore. With the use of social media and other platforms it allows hundreds of thousands of women (and men), to communicate, collaborate and talk about important issues.
A single day is not enough to actually create change, campaigns for change are taking place all the time, but we often don’t see them or hear about them unless we are directly affected or involved. International Women’s Day changes that, it has created a forum for conversation, for taboo subjects to step into the light to be heard and seen.
For me International Women’s Day also represents the right for each of us to be an individual, to celebrate ourselves and honour our own needs, wants, and desires. It is a reminder that the freedom we have, the right to vote, and the progress that has been made over the years, has been hard fought for and should not be taken for granted. It is a reminder to be thankful but also to be gracious, and to help the next person take a step forward into their own light.
How can you get involved?
The most important thing that we can do right now is keep the lines of conversation open and keep our minds open to the endless possibilities around us. Here are a few things you could do for International Women’s Day:
• Get involved in this year’s theme – #ChoosetoChallenge – take your picture with your hand up, palm open and facing outwards, and post it on social media with the hashtags #IWD2021 and #ChoosetoChallenge and tell others why you are getting involved and what it means to you.
• Create conversation amongst your peer groups and with your friends and family, talk about what is important to you, have open (friendly) debates on topics that mean the most to you. Listen to others and understand what matters to them. Find ways to support each other.
• Show the other women in your life how much you value and appreciate them. You don’t have to go out and spend money on gifts, just pick up the phone or send them a message and thank them for all that they do for you.
• Always be yourself. Through the year’s women have had to fight for freedom and for what they believe in. Don’t allow that fight and their victories to become wasted. Be 100% you all the time and be proud of who you are. Find a community where you can show up as yourself, in fact come and join mine.