International Women’s Day
By: Jacquetta Szathmari
When, Why and How to Celebrate!
On March 8th, all over the planet, we celebrate International Women’s Day. But, what is International Women’s Day? What does it mean and how can you participate?
Since Women’s Day finds its roots in the late 19th century, here’s a little dry history:
First celebrated simply as “Women’s Day”, the original idea is attributed to German socialists and suffragettes who were inspired by the American Socialist Party’s Women’s Day celebration held in New York in 1909 and the Women’s Rights Convention of 1848.
Held in Europe, in 1911, it was a day of protest with women marching in solidarity for equality, for the right to vote and hold public office, and against sex discrimination in the workplace. Later, women in the Soviet Union used the holiday to protest against WWI, and after the Russian Revolution, the Soviet Union made International Women’s Day an official holiday. The holiday then spread to other communist and socialist regimes as a day to celebrate and honor women’s contributions to society.
The protest element of International Women’s Day re-emerged during the American civil rights era when it crossed back over the Atlantic and was adopted as a day of marches and political action by the growing American women’s movement.
Finally, the observation of an International Women’s Day was formalized by the United Nations in 1977…
(And that’s just the short version, folks.)
So, how can you celebrate International Women’s Day?
Follow the UN’s lead:
Every year the United Nations chooses a theme for International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is timely-- "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world" with the hashtags #IWD2021 and #InternationalWomensDay.
Celebrations will shine light on the positive impact of women and girls as frontline and medical workers, community organizers, and trailblazers during the pandemic.
You can support female healthcare and community workers and their efforts by asking them or their organizations what they need. You’d be surprised. Sometimes monetary support is what is needed but not always.
Your favorite medical provider might need assistance with childcare or errands. Maybe she just needs an hour to relax. Maybe there is a charity she cares about that could use some volunteer help, like phone banking or fundraising. Maybe she just needs someone to listen.
You won’t know unless you ask!
Go online and do a little research on grassroots local charities and pop-ups. During COVID, many women have sprung into action to fill in the gaps in the social safety net by organizing pantries, delivery and transportation services, and information centers to help those on the margins. Contact them and see what they lack.
Or keep it simple:
Consider footing the bill for lunch, breakfast, or dinner for a woman you know (or don’t know) who is working in the pandemic trenches. There are many heartwarming stories of medical, non-profit, and volunteer staff receiving healthy meals from perfect strangers who just want to give back.
Keep them safe by sending approved supplies and PPP to places that need it.
Get trained and volunteer for a hotline that serves people who are overwhelmed.
And don’t forget about social media. Lift them up and give them an online shoutout or follow their accounts and support them by letting them know that they are heard, seen, and appreciated.
If you are a woman who has been keeping the home fires burning during this pandemic don’t forget to treat yourself. We need you out there, without you we’d be lost.
So, take care.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jacquetta Szathmari is a New York based writer and the founder of Dernier Mile, a boutique consultancy providing last minute and last mile solutions for your content-intensive, logistically complex, and totally unique creative projects.
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