This International Women’s Day, there are so many things you can do to support women, both in your own life as well as around the world. The day is all about celebrating women worldwide for their political, economic and social achievements, as well as constantly working toward bettering the lives of women, everywhere. Find out 10 simple things you can do to celebrate this important day of women.
1. Learn the History of International Women’s Day - the whole point of this important day is to celebrate the accomplishments of what women have achieved as well as the struggles we’ve gone through. The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1909 to honour the 1908 garment women’s strike in New York, where women protested awful working conditions. It was internationally observed on March 19th, 1911 across Europe, and by 1977, the United Nations designated March 8th as International Women’s Day. Since then, there have been countless victories around the world as women succeed in bettering their working and living conditions and rights. Read all about other crucial victories.
2. Find Out About the Women Who Fought for our Rights - all over the world, women have accomplished some amazing things when it comes to equality and female rights. Right here in Canada, we have the Famous Five, who worked hard to ensure women were seen as persons. The Toronto Star mentions 10 Canadian women who really made a difference, Canadian Living has a great article about 35 inspiring Canadian women, or check out these 30 women’s rights activists. From fighting for our rights, to breaking barriers, to being social or political activists in their field, we have so many amazing women in Canada that make us proud.
3. Learn About Equality Today - women all over the world are still fighting for equality, and in some parts of the world, the situation is dire. Even in Canada, there is a lot of work to be done for equal rights in the workplace and equal pay. We also still have a long way to go in protecting women and children from domestic violence and sexual and physical assault. 1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime, and studies show that 80% of the time, the assailants are friends and family of the victim. 67% of Canadians say they have known at least one women who has experienced abuse. We all need to join the fight in ending domestic violence, starting with learning how to recognize signs of domestic violence.
4. Donate to a Women’s Shelter - there are so many ways in which you can help your local women’s shelter. Whether you’re donating your time, your money or items, there are always strong needs for local women and children. Find out what your local shelter really needs by starting with this helpful article.
5. Participate in Activism - there are many things you can do to become more active in women’s rights. Join in your local march for women’s rights. Support bills that help women as well as those like the domestic and sexual violence paid leave bill. You can write letters to your MP, participate in group action, and support businesses that are working toward equality. Think about also joining a national foundation like the Canadian Women’s Foundation or an international organization like Women for Women, which helps women who are suffering or have suffered through wars.
6. Learn the Signs of Domestic Violence - domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. You might easily miss the signs that someone you know is being abused by a family member, even if this person is a close friend. Read up on the warning signs and find our how you can best help a friend, family member, neighbour or acquaintance who might be experiencing abuse.
7. Support Local Women - every community has female entrepreneurs, artists or musicians who are taking a stand for women’s rights and equality. Support these women through their endeavours or join a local event one of them might be hosting.
8. Help the Women in Your Life - whether it’s a new mom needing support, an elderly neighbour who could use companionship or food, or your own partner in need of help with her workload, assist those closest to you. Even the smallest of tasks or acts of kindness can go far. Thank the women closest to you and don’t forget to remind them how important they are.
9. Treat ALL Women with Respect - today and every day. Speak up for women, all the time. Never stand by if you see or hear a women experiencing harassment of any kind, even if you think it’s none of your business. As men, it’s especially important to take a stand. Don’t just listen and let others make respectful comments or rape jokes - these are never okay. Treat all women with respect, modelling this behaviour for other men and women.
10. Raise Your Children to be Peace-Loving Leaders - let’s raise our daughters and sons to be strong leaders and supporters of girls/women as well as kind to everyone. Teach your children about peace and the importance of equality. Ensure they always treat everyone with respect, regardless of gender, appearance or race. The future starts with the youngest generation.
Happy International Women’s Day!