Things to do this International Women's Day
Originally called International Working Women’s Day, International Women’s Day is a day of celebration and activism across the world. It was first established in 1910 by the Socialist International at a meeting in Copenhagen, and was originally celebrated on the 19th of March. Throughout World War I, IWD was used as a mechanism for protesting the war or showing solidarity, and in 1917 the women of Russia held a strike for “Bread and Peace” on the 8th March. It was a strike that led to the Czar abdicating and women gaining the right to vote. Finally, in 1975, International Women’s Year, the United Nations designated March 8th as being International Women’s Day. And that leads to the present day.
Nowadays, International Women’s Day is used as a day of protest, strike, and - on a more positive note - celebration. The theme of 2017’s IWD is #BeBoldForChange, and as such there have been numerous protests arranged throughout the world. Most notably, though, is the “Day without Women”. Women across the globe have been encouraged to strike by taking the day off from paid and unpaid labour, avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses), and wear red in solidarity. The aim is to demonstrate to the world how important women are, and how our society would struggle without their contributions.
If, like a lot of younger women, you are not in the financial position to be able to take a day off work, here are some other things you can get up to for International Women’s’ Day.
Attend an Event
There are so many events happening across the world to celebrate the achievements of women. The best place to check which events are happening near you is to visit the official IWD events website at https://www.internationalwomensday.com/events. Not all of them are exclusively taking place on IWD, such as the Women of the World Festival in London, which started on the 7th March and lasts until the 12th, and which boasts an incredible lineup of workshops, talks, music, film screenings, and more.
If you’re unable to get to an event, why not check out some feminist websites, blogs, videos, and blogs to learn a bit more about the feminist movement? There’s a great selection of feminist documentaries available on Netflix, which range in subject matter from child marriage to media representation. If you don’t have Netflix, you can always visit YouTube and take a look at some feminist vloggers. Or, if you’re into your more old-fashioned media, you could head to your local library or charity book store and pick up some feminist literature.
Donate to a Worthy Cause
Worried you’re not doing enough to support women across the world? Have a Google and look up some worthy charities and organisations that are actively making a difference. Sometimes, even the simplest action can make a huge impact. Charities and women’s rights organisations are facing a constant struggle for funding, so even a small donation amount could really help.
Support Your Local Independent Female Creatives & Businesses
As we all know, women keep the world spinning. So on International Women’s Day, why not make a conscious effort to eschew capitalism and instead support your local independent female creatives and businesses. That might not even require you spending money: simply sharing links to their websites or spreading the world can be really helpful. Make sure that the businesses you’re supporting are ethical, though, and that they aren’t treading on other women in order to get to the top!
This is the easiest thing to do (if you have access to a computer). As it’s International Women’s Day, there are articles and graphics about activism and women’s rights everywhere. So share, share, share! Log into your Facebook and post all the articles, videos, blog posts, and artwork you want. Give your friends access to information and help educate your peers who might not know about feminist causes. It takes very little effort, and can even be done from your phone whilst you’re lying in bed. Let everyone know that you are a women’s rights advocate and that you care about women. Maybe it’ll even strike up a conversation with your friends about what you can do in the future to help women in need.
Show Your Female (and Trans and Non-Binary) Friends and Family Some Love
It’s International WOMEN’S Day, so treat it as such. Get together with your friends and celebrate your achievements. Have a day that is focused purely on the women in your life. Tell them how much you care about them, how much you appreciate them. As women, it’s easy to get dragged down into a cesspit of negativity, sexism, and prejudice, so look out for your friends and family members.
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