March 8th is International Women's Day, a day to celebrate the accomplishments of women around the world. It's also a day to remember that, while women have made great progress in the last century, there is still much work to be done in achieving gender equality throughout the world.
But, before we look at the fun ways you can celebrate this recognized day, let's take a look at the history of this important date. This is important because many of the traditions we follow today began with women's suffrage movements in the late 19th century.
Who Started International Women's Day?
The beginning of International Women's Day dates back to 1908 when a group of about 15,000 women representing the Socialist Party of America marched into New York City determined to demand better working conditions, voting rights, and the right to hold political office.
They began their protest by refusing to work, which meant that all of those around them (mostly men) were also forced to stop working as well. A year later, in 1909, the group declared the first National Women’s Day.
Formal recognition internationally started in 1910, when a woman by the name of Clara Zetkin (a member of the Social Democratic Party in Germany) proposed that all women worldwide should celebrate on March 8th to commemorate the movement for women's rights.
The official starting year for celebrating International Women's Day was 1910 after the proposal of Clara Zetkin. From this, the day entered the international stage in 1911 when it was marked by thousands of events. Since then, it has grown to inspire millions of people around the world to celebrate women's achievements and advocate for gender equality.
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While its focus is truly global, it is important to remember that there are special ways to celebrate the day in your community. From brunches and luncheons to educational programs, there are many options for getting involved with the holiday so that you can enjoy its benefits.
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So, how will you be celebrating International Women's Day this year? Here are twelve fun ways for both men and women to get involved:
Thank the Women in Your Life
One of the best ways to show your appreciation during International Women's Day is by thanking the women in your life. Whether they are family members, friends, or coworkers, take a few minutes at least once a year to recognize what this woman means to you.
Tell that special woman (or women) how much they mean to you and how thankful you are for everything that they do. Small gestures like this can go a long way.
Give to Charity
If you are able, consider giving to a charity that helps to support women or children. Many women's charities are available, but you can also check out charities that help children in need.
You could also give to a charity that helps to support girls who are in underprivileged countries by helping them go to school or receive an education. You could even donate towards scholarships for women seeking higher education.
Learn About an Unsung Hero
While many women are celebrated for their contributions to society, there are still plenty who have gone unrecognized for their hard work. Google one of these heroes and learn more about her life story.
If you discover a new heroine that you've never heard of before, don't forget to share it with your friends and family so they can learn too.
Bake Some Goodies
When it comes to International Women's Day, baking is always a good option. Bring in the baked goods to your school or workplace and make some cupcakes or treats from scratch. Sharing sweets, laughter and good conversation is an amazing way to celebrate the amazing women in your life.
You could even turn your baking pastime into a fundraising event. Consider hosting a bake sale and donating the proceeds to a charity that works towards empowering women.
Attend a Women's Day Event
Out of everything on this list, attending an International Women's Day parade or festival is one of the most popular ways to celebrate the holiday. Not only are you surrounded by all types of people that want to show their support, but there’s usually plenty of activities and booths for entertainment purposes.
Take a look at what's going on in your area if it is near you. It's always good to be part of a community and you could learn something new about your local history.
Put Together an Empowering Playlist
Make a playlist full of songs that you think encompass the essence of supporting women's rights. Put it on shuffle and dedicate each song that comes up to someone in your life. It may seem like a simple gesture, but music has a way of soothing the soul.
To get you started, here are some of our favourite empowering songs about women:
- Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys
- Run the World (Girls) by Beyoncé
- I'm Every Woman by Chaka Khan
- Wonder Woman by Lion Babe
- You Don't Own Me by Lesley Gore
- Fight Song by Rachel Platten
- Brave by Sara Bareilles
- Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld
- Confident by Demi Lovato
- Independent Women by Destiny's Child
Speak Up about Something You Believe In
Since International Women's Day originally began as an event to advocate for suffrage, it is a great day to speak up about something you believe in. Whether that means sharing your voice on the importance of reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work, or supporting LGBTIQA+ rights, there are many opportunities out there to do something small that could have a huge impact.
Educate Your Children About Female Empowerment
Most of us learn about female empowerment through pop culture, but that doesn't mean it's the only way. If you have children, try to include some books or TV shows in your daily routine that celebrate women.
This doesn't just apply to International Women's Day; every day is a great day to teach young boys and girls about respect and equality. Plus, the sooner you introduce the topic to them, the more likely they will grow up to respect others and themselves.
Organize a Girl's Day
Book a tea party at your favorite tea room or just get some girls together for a movie night in. Whatever you plan, hosting a girl's day is always an excellent way to show love and support for the women closest to you.
Sometimes it can be difficult to get all your friends together, but taking some time out of the year to share sisterly love is an excellent way to spend this cherished day and spread the girl power.
For all the men out there, you can still organize a girl's day and take part. Why not gather the most important women in your life and treat them to a fun lunch or take them on a fun-filled day trip?
Wear the colour purple on March 8th to show your support for the incredible women around the world. You can do this by wearing purple clothing or even just wearing a purple accessory.
Why purple? The colour has been linked to supporting women's rights since its first association with feminism and has been adopted as the recognized colour of the movement.
Donate Your Hair
For some women, International Women's Day is a chance to show their support by donating their hair to a cause that helps make a difference for those afflicted with cancer. While not every woman has long locks, everyone can contribute in some way – even if it is cutting off under five inches of hair.
To encourage support, many salons offer discounted haircuts to potential donors. If you're interested in donating your hair, contact your local salon to see if they are taking part in the initiative.
Support a Female-Owned Business
Many women-owned businesses have huge offers on their products throughout March in celebration of International Women's Day. This is a great opportunity to purchase a product or service for yourself or a loved one while supporting a female entrepreneur.
Get Inspired on International Women's Day
International Women's day is one of the most inspiring days of the year. It is an opportunity to learn about milestones reached, challenges faced, and victories won by women across the world.
Celebrate by doing something small that means a lot to one or all of the women in your life - and that could include yourself! Regardless if you choose to celebrate with one of the ideas above, or create a personal tradition of your own, make sure to share your celebration with the women you love most.