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Tables Are Turning: 2018 International Women's Day

by Carissa Andrews - March 7 , 2018


Photo Credit: by anhmaxqual Flickr.com
Photo Credit: by Aanhmaxqual, Flickr.com

Not since the early 1900’s, when women were crying out for the right to vote, has the power and voice of women been as evident as it is right now. While the United States didn’t see a woman president come to power, we have seen women leading the resistance against all forms of discrimination, including sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in all its forms. The Women’s March in 2017 was one of the largest peaceful protest in the world with a whopping three million men and women turning out worldwide to join in.

While this women-led resistance has yet to see some concrete gains in the form of parity, there’s reason for hope. Women of all ages are becoming more vocal and taking a firmer stance toward justice and equality on numerous topics close to their heart.

History of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is right around the corner and we want to celebrate. March 8th is the day women’s voices are meant to rise above the noise to be a part of something bigger than any one single person. All around the world, women are celebrated on this day—as we recognize their achievements and actions regardless of nationality, ethnicity, culture, language, economic standing, or political affiliation. Events take place worldwide in honor and celebration of women—anything from rallies, marches, networking events, art performances—you name it. Do you know of any events happening near you?

Thanks to the amazing efforts of the Suffragettes, women’s causes have been celebrated and brought to light since the early 1900’s. In 1908, more than 15,000 women marched through New York City, demanding better pay, shorter hours, and voting rights. In 1909, the very first National Woman’s Day was observed on February 28th in the United States.

1910 was the year Clara Zetkin suggested the idea of an International Women’s Day, saying every country should celebrate women one day a year and push for their specific demands and needs. More than 100 women from seventeen countries agreed with her and the IWD was formed. In fact, the very first International Women’s Day was celebrated 107 years ago—in 1911 (though originally held on March 19th and later switched to March 8th in 1913).

President Obama declared all of March ‘Women’s History Month’ in 2011, and the United States has continued to observe its influence each year since. While not affiliated with any one group, International Women’s Day (IWD) leans on the successes and voices of many other women’s organizations, corporations, charities, and vocal movements.

Women make up half of the world’s talent pool, yet they’re drastically under-utilized, underpaid, and under supported. It’s part of the reason, IWD is still celebrated and continues to gain importance. Its original aim is still not fully being met. According to the Fawcett Society, an organization in the UK that campaigns for women’s rights, women essentially work “for free” from November 10th until the end of the year—effectively 51 days—due to the gender pay gap. Pay equality is a cornerstone of what IWD is all about—but it’s so much more than that. Each year, a theme is chosen to further advance their efforts and bring attention to women’s causes.

2018’s International Women’s Day Theme

Fueled by the recent #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, this year’s International Women’s Day theme takes things a step further with their them of #PressforProgress. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, progress for gender parity has taken a step backward and is regressing. Instead of taking 170 years to close the gap, their findings were an eye-popping 217 years—or over two full centuries—before we find any semblance of gender equality.

With this devastating development in mind, now is not the time to be complacent. Women are bringing about a brighter spotlight and it’s time to #PressforProgress collectively so we can unite women in a movement that encourages equality.

How You Can Make a Difference

This year and every year going forward, you can #PressforProgress by standing up for women in all facets of life. Big or small, all efforts make a difference and can lead to big changes in the years ahead. We owe it to our daughters to create a world that’s encouraging and supportive of their efforts as they move forward in life.

Some of the ways you can do support the #PressforChange IWD cause include:

• Question the lack of women’s participation wherever you are.

• Provide or identify alternatives to be more inclusive. Solutions are always better than finger pointing.

• Nominate women for opportunities.

• Include and support women of all ages and races.

• Aim at a 50/50 gender inclusion as the goal.

• Question assumptions you or others have about women.

• Challenge statements that limit women in any way.

• Work to remove barriers to women’s progress.

• Talking to our daughters about gender equality and promoting ourselves as good female role models.

• Encouraging teachers to talk about IWD and ask students how they can promote gender parity.

• Buy and support retailers and businesses who position women in positive ways.

• Identify and implement ways to make women more visible and supported.

• Assume women want a broader range of opportunities until they’ve been declined.

• Advance women to leadership positions. The key to closing the gender gap, according to Where Women Work, may lie in putting more women in charge. As it turns out, women leaders hire more women.

• Support and encourage already visible women.

• Call out inappropriate behavior against women.

• Campaign for equality.

• Lead by example via inclusive actions, words, and xxx.

• Give credit to employers who #PressforProgress by calling attention to them on social media and other open platforms.

• Be a role model for change and equality.

• Value women’s individual and collective successes.

• Be an employer who values and supports flexible working arrangements.

• Embrace culture and diversity inclusion.

• Support every woman’s choice to find value in whatever manner they choose.

• Give credit for women’s contributions.

• Host your own IWD event in your area and submit the details to the IWD site to be recognized.

• Support International Women’s Day through sponsorship. Contact them here.

• Engage with IWD on social media by sharing your #PressforProgress pictures.

Yes, There’s a Day for Men, Too

While equality for women is the key for International Women’s Day—it’s important to note women are also supportive of the men in their lives. Women aren’t seeking to overthrow or overcome men, but rather, want to find balance befitting of both genders.

With this in mind, November 19th marks International Men’s Day in over 60 countries around the world. The yearly celebration focuses on boy’s and men’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality in all its forms, and highlighting stellar male role models.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of how you celebrate or take part in this year’s International Women’s Day, we hope you embrace their #PressforChange challenge on March 8th and continue its efforts every day. It’s important to stand up for gender parity, as we progress women’s rights around the globe. Embracing both men and women’s unique talents and how they complement each other in this dance of life is important to living a life in balance.

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Carissa Andrew considers herself a triple threat: write, design and marketing. Her passion lies in mixing these three together with creativity and sass.


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