International Women’s Day is held on March 8th every year. It’s a day when we celebrate the amazing social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women - while also campaigning for greater progress towards gender equality.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has been celebrated since the early 1900s. Although we’ve made great progress since then, the problem of gender inequality still persists around the world.
The UN estimates that globally women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, for work of equal value. Despite comprising over half the population, women occupy less than 23% of parliamentary seats globally. And in many countries women still suffer disproportionately from poverty, lack of education, and lack of access to health-care.
Women are also severely underrepresented at senior management and leadership levels. Only 6.6% of Fortune 500 companies had a female CEO in 2019; a number that’s declining instead of improving.
Recent years have seen a huge increase in the number of businesses around the world celebrating IWD. There is growing recognition that women’s rights affect us all, and that we need to strive for more female representation at all levels of business.
Gender diversity in the workplace produces real benefits. Several studies have shown that a gender-diverse workplace is good for financial returns, employee engagement, innovation and reducing turnover. Gender diversity can also help your business resonate with a wider customer base.
So what can you do to celebrate International Women’s Day, both in your workplace and on a personal level? Here are 10 great ideas to get you started.
This year’s official theme of IWD, #EachforEqual encouraging us all to actively challenge stereotypes
Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.
We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements.
Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.
Let's all be #EachforEqual.
In 2017 the UN theme for IWD is ‘Women in the Changing World of Work’. At present only 50% of women are represented in the labour force globally, compared to 76% of men. And an overwhelming majority of women are concentrated in low-paid, lower-skill or domestic occupations.
To create sustainable and healthy economies we must empower women and break down these barriers. No matter what industry you’re in, you can implement policies to fight gender discrimination and encourage diversity in your business.
Studies have shown that gender diversity has significant benefits for business, including:
Long-term strategies to foster gender diversity are crucial, but you can also celebrate IWD with events on the day. This will help show your organisations commitment to inclusion and gender equality. Here are some ideas:
Celebrating IWD doesn’t have to involve big political or public gestures… you can do it in your own small personal way just by reading a great book by a female author.
Try one of these bestsellers:
You should also check out this excellent list: 6 books by inspiring women to add to your booklist.
Escaping an abusive domestic situation can be extremely difficult, and women’s refuges are an essential lifeline for women and children who need to leave. Without these services more lives would be lost. But women's refuges are also in dire need of financial support.
Why not celebrate International Women’s Day by making a donation to your local refuge? Here are just a few of the amazing services in the UK
Whether it’s your mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, girlfriend, or a female friend… Why not celebrate IWD by making them feel special?
Send flowers, write a card, give a small gift, or take them out to a movie. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman; we can all show our gratitude and love for the women around us.
If you want to help a worthy cause at the same time, these unique gift cards from Oxfam help to provide safe refuge for women fleeing from violence.