5 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day This Year
P.S. It doesn’t involve buying fancy gifts for the women in your life
The very first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1911 — almost 109 years ago. In 1946, the UN Commission established the first set standards of women’s rights, encouraging governments to bring their laws into line with international convention and to encourage global awareness of women’s rights. Fast forward to 2020 — it’s safe to say we’ve come a long way in the evolution of women’s rights.
Today, 131 countries have made legal reforms to support gender equality and more girls are in school than ever before. Women’s rights organisations across the globe are showing no signs of slowing down in forging an equal world. As Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of UN Women put it,
“2020 is a massive year for gender equality. Not just for women and girls, but for everyone whose lives will be changed by a fairer world that leaves no one behind.”
In honour of International Women’s Day, here are five meaningful ways to celebrate this very significant day:
1. Empower yourself with the truth
The best thing you can do for yourself, and for those around you, is to get equipped with hard facts on what the feminist movement is really about and what it champions — you might be more feminist than you think! You’ll also be ready to extinguish any misconceptions/myths that might crop up in your day-to-day conversations and prevent false information from spreading.
Let’s start with…
Myth #1: “Feminists believe women are better than men.”
The Truth: Feminism stands for equality; the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. It does not involve itself with the discrimination of sexual orientation or the male gender.
Do you believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities? Congratulations, you’re a feminist! If you can’t take it from us, at least take it from Emma Watson:
Myth #2: “Feminism is a political movement and mostly composed by angry white women.”
The Truth: Feminism is for everyone who believes in equality — independent of gender, age, sexual orientation, and nationality. In fact, since the 19th century, men have taken part in significant cultural and political responses to feminism, especially by recognising the existence of male privilege and renouncing it in order to strategically progress opportunities, rights, and life conditions in general.
Myth #3: “We’ve already arrived at equality for women and men, so there is no need for feminism or the women’s rights movement.”
The Truth: Women are still behind in many different ways; they continue to be paid less on average than men, hold fewer leadership positions in companies and in politics, many jobs fail to cater to mothers, women continue to be responsible for the majority of household work — the list goes on. This means all of us still have a lot of catching up to do.
Now that you know some of the basic truths on feminism, you’re ready to go burst some bubbles!
2. Get involved with #EachforEqual
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual, because an equal world is an enabled world.
March 8th, 2020 is the day to speak out, post and support visually on social media. Get the crew together and strike the #EachforEqual pose, like so:
3. Listen to the women around you
There are different ways to celebrate others, and — SPOILER ALERT — the most meaningful celebrations do not involve spending lots of money on gifts like flowers and spa treatments.
Listen to the women in your life. Try to really understand what drives them, and give them a safe space for speech. Listening to and empowering the women around you without judgement shouldn’t just be a way to celebrate International Women’s Day, but a positive daily habit to cultivate in order to truly make a difference towards a more equal world.
4. Be kind and support one another
You can start by simply being supportive and genuinely happy for other women’s successes. Every other women’s achievement is yours to share! Tell your friends, colleagues or even the girl you just met on the elevator that she is capable of doing amazing things. Even the simplest forms of appreciation — like a small compliment received from another woman — can be really valuable and make a difference in someone’s day.
5. Strive for more
The world today is nowhere near perfect or completely fair, but one way to empower yourself as a woman with more autonomy is to keep learning. Knowledge is power — especially when more and more companies are actively trying to attract more female talent. There’s never been a better time to pick up new skills.
Start by thinking about your interests, hobbies, and passions outside of your current job. What would you like to learn more about? What transferable skills have you gained from these experiences?
Secondly, consider what you like about your current job and consider what skills you could acquire to enhance your performance. If you really dislike your job, visualise what success looks like to you and work backwards from there. For example, are you in customer care but want to pursue a career in data science? Write a checklist of skills you need, research meetups and courses near you, then categorise these into a 6-month plan in order of importance. You’ll be surprised how much progress you’ll make!
Sometimes, all you need is a spark of inspiration.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn what it takes to work in tech, we are offering skill-sharing courses at our FREE NOW Headquarters in Hamburg, Germany. These skill-sharing courses are an opportunity to meet people who might be that spark of inspiration you need to kickstart your learning journey!
Sound interesting? Check out our LinkedIn page for further information and updates.
However you choose to celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we hope you do so with a conscious mind and a heart full of empathy, compassion, and anticipation for an equal world!
“Change everything. Or change one thing. As long as you do something. Whether you’re new to changing the world or have been in the fight for a long time. We are all together, united for gender equality. And the future we create for women and girls is up to all of us.”
— United Nations Women