International Woman’s Day (IWD) occurs every year on March 8th. Starting as an observance organized by the Socialist Party of America in 1909, this day turned into an international celebration when the United Nations officially marked the date and popularized the holiday in 1975. This year’s slogan is #EachforEqual, which aims to get people thinking about how they can help forge a gender equal world. IWD serves as a time to honor women’s achievements and recognize the strides that have been made towards equality- as well as the work that is still left to be done. Below are three easy ways to celebrate women in the workspace this March, or any month of the year!
1. Build Community
Celebrate the women around you! Host a networking event bringing female colleagues together. Organize an informal coffee chat around current challenges women can face professionally. Or if time allows, plan a luncheon highlighting women who have made a difference in your field or community.
March is also National Women’s History month- creating a way to spotlight women in the past who have impacted the world we live in today. Feature women in a company newsletter, share out information on those who are not as well known or incorporate a female lense into any pre-existing groups at work, such as monthly department happy hours or book clubs. Even though IWD is on a Sunday this year, you can still celebrate in the office all month long!
2. Have Important Conversations
International Women’s Day invokes a reason to have conversations around gender equality in the workplace. Topics like equal pay, family leave, and representation at all levels of a company (such as the number of female board members) are important to discuss openly with others. Create a forum where people can voice concerns or simply use the holiday as a reason to speak up- no matter what, there needs to be more dialogue around these issues that affect us all. Collectively everyone, not just women, can work together and make strides towards a truly equitable workplace.
3. Support Others
Focus giving back this month to organizations that lift up and support women in need. If you work in finance, education, accounting, or in the legal field, consider donating your time by sharing your skills with those who would struggle to have access to the services you provide.
For a more low-lift way to give back, host a clothing drive for professional clothes. Shelters are often in need of items for women who are trying to enter or re-enter the workforce. You can also collect feminine hygiene products and other essential items for women in need. Additionally, you can select a female-focused non-profit that is relevant to your line of work to support monetarily. Whether it’s encouraging more female STEM majors, supporting literacy programs and education access, or promoting financial independence- there is a worthy cause to gather your coworkers around this month!
This IWD, and the entire month of March, pay extra attention to the women around you at work. Recognize them, support them, and commit yourself to fighting for equality in the workplace and beyond.