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International Women's Day

International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

International Women's Day (IWD) has been observed since in the early 1900's - a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women's Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women's network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women's Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others.

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  1. Take the day off.
    In countries where the day is a public holiday, workers get the day off to celebrate. Armenia, Burkina Faso, Mongolia and Kazakhstan are a few of the countries that are taking the day off. In some countries, such as China, only women get the day off.

  2. Attend an official International Women’s Day Event.
    These events include gatherings, conferences, exhibitions, festivals, fun runs, concerts and more. They are a good way to empower the women involved and to learn more about the issues at hand. Click here for more info on events near you.

  3. Stand on a bridge.
    “Join Me on the Bridge” is a campaign for women’s equality that started with Rwandan and Congolese women, who met on a bridge joining their two countries as a demonstration that women could build bridges of peace. This year, women will march on bridges in London, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto and New York for International Women’s Day.

  4. Protest.
    International Women’s Day was born of activism — the holiday was founded in 1910, when a German woman named Clara Zetkin proposed that every country devote a day to the needs and political demands of women. While in many countries, the holiday has taken on the sentimental status of days like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, women around the world use March 8 as an opportunity to fight for political freedom, equal pay and working rights, among other causes. The day was marked by protests in Turkey, Sri Lanka, and Palestine, among other countries.

  5. Consume art by women.
    Buy a book written by a woman; purchase art made by a woman; watch a movie directed by a woman. This supports women as creators and can even expand your perspective to see things through the eyes and experience of a woman (or another woman, if you are a woman yourself.) Push yourself in this area to consume art by women of a different ethnicity or socioeconomic status than yourself. Widen your viewpoint; support the marginalized.
    In Pakistan, theatrical performances, poetry readings, songs, films and a two-month long visual art show will be a part of the celebration. A friend living in Afghanistan reports that in her village, speeches and songs were performed, and the highlight was a play put on by some teenage boys “encouraging men to be thoughtful when marrying off their daughters.”

  6. Volunteer for an organization that helps women.
    There are many great options for this, but you’ll have to look in your area to find something that works for you. Look for women’s shelters, organizations that help women find employment and education opportunities, women’s foundations.

  7. Donate to a cause that helps women.
    In the U.S., micro-lending non-profits such as Kiva are campaigning to remind women to help women around the world by investing in their futures. will connect you to women who need loans, and skincare company Dermalogica is sponsoring 4,000 $25 loans for lenders who register today.

  8. Tell the women in your life why you love, respect and support them, and give them flowers.
    Today is the perfect day to write a letter, send a text or make a phone call to tell the women in your life why they matter. Tell your mom how she shaped your perception of women; let your wife know how she has proven to you the strength that women carry; tell your friend how proud you are of her pursuing her passion. Find the things that inspire you about the women you know and make your appreciation heard.
    Flowers are a symbol of International Women’s Day, and many countries celebrate by decorating with flowers, or giving them to women as presents. In Italy, yellow mimosas are popular. Russians give a variety of flowers, including red roses. In Hanoi, Vietnam, it’s not just boyfriends and husbands giving flowers to the women in their lives, but also bosses and colleagues.

  9. Pray for women.
    If you’re religious, pray for the women in you life by name, giving thanks for them and asking for their protection and empowerment.

  10. Defeat sexual harassment.
    Carry on the momentum of the #metoo movement. Continue to create a community where women feel empowered to speak out. Work towards (as well as support representatives who work towards) equal pay, longer maternity leave, and a more egalitarian society.

  11. Learn more about the specific struggle of women living in poverty.
    Food for the Hungry offers a couple different resources for learning about how poverty affects women specifically. Click here to read “7 Surprising Facts About Women and Poverty” and here to read “Top 10 Facts on Gender Equality Worldwide.” This will help you better understand some of the issues women will face and help you understand how you can contribute to eradicating poverty.


*The above Rhythms are borrowed from Food for the Hungry, as well as Maura Judkis from the Washington Post.

Earlier Event: February 22
FEBRUARY Gathering
Later Event: March 9
Smalltown Creative Hub