What is International Women's Day, and why do we celebrate it each year?
International Women's Day is celebrated each year on March 8th. It is a global day to celebrate the social, cultural, economical and political achievements of women. This tradition is well over a century old, with the first International Women's Day gathering taking place in 1911.
International Women's Day is not specific to any certain country, organization, or group - it's a day of celebration for everyone, everywhere, as well as a call to action for gender equality.
According to the official website for International Women's Day, it is a day for "unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action - whatever that looks like at a local level".
Here are 8 simple, yet impactful ways to celebrate International Women's Day this year:
1. Support the theme of International Women's Day 2020 and raise awareness by posting to social media.
© Photograph: Sarah Koester / EyeEm
The theme this year is Each for Equal, meaning that each of us can play a part in creating a more equal world. You can post to social media with this year's hashtag #EachforEqual, and strike the pose that goes along with it.
2. Donate to your local women's shelter, whether in the form of a monetary donation, clothing, supplies, or your time.
3. Support local, female-run businesses. Try to see how many female-run businesses you can support on International Women's Day, as you go about your day!
4. Watch Ted talks given by women. Ted has a list of 10 talks by women that everyone should watch.
5. Read impactful books written by women. Here are a few to get you started:
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
6. Celebrate women in film. Of the top 100 highest grossing films from 2019, only 12% were directed by women. And that is still a huge jump from the measly 7% out of 250 in 2016. As far as female leads, women are still being represented in Hollywood, percentage wise (43%), less than the amount of women in the population of the world (49.6%).
Why not celebrate by enjoying some female-directed films, and films with female leads this year? Here are a couple to begin with:
Suffragette, directed by Sarah Gavron. About the UK's suffragette movement in 1912, one of the most important social movements in history.
Hidden Figures, With Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer & Janelle Monae in leading roles. Th story of a trio of female NASA scientists who helped launch the first American astronaut into space.
7. Spend time with your mom, or with other women whom you admire.
8. Do something kind for a woman you love. Even the smallest gesture can make a difference in someone's day, or week.
This March 8th, let's reflect on what the brave and strong women and allies of the past have accomplished to bring about the greater equality that we enjoy today. And, let's remember to continue to empower and support women today as we strive to achieve gender parity in our world. Let's do our part to ensure that the future for girls around the world is even brighter, more safe, more rewarding, and equal.