International Women’s Day has been around since the early 1900s, but this year, it’s poised to be one to remember. Two related events, A Day Without a Woman and The International Women’s Strike, will encourage women to abstain from paid and unpaid labor in order to emphasize their role in the economy — and the fact that they’re still compensated unfairly for their work.
Many cities will also host marches around the occasion. Women are being asked to do three things when they elect to join in:
- Take March 8th off from all paid and unpaid labor.
- Avoid shopping other than at small, women- and minority-owned businesses.
- Wear red in solidarity with the cause.
Why Women Are Striking
“The goal is to highlight the economic power and significance that women have in the US and global economies, while calling attention to the economic injustices women and gender nonconforming people continue to face,” write the organizers of A Day Without a Woman. “We play an indispensable role in the daily functions of life in all of society, through paid & unpaid, seen & unseen labor. ”
Women still do the majority of the housework and childcare in many households, even when they work full-time. They also earn less than men, even when they have the same skills and education and put in the same hours. Women are less likely to hold executive and leadership roles, and more likely to work in lower-paying jobs.
Observing International Women’s Day
Women face a vast range of issues in our world today. So, IWD is focused and observed in a multitude of ways. No one organization, corporation, or network is responsible for IWD. Instead, many different groups, and individuals, declare an IWD focus or theme that supports a cause or agenda that impacts women.
“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization,” political and social activist and journalist Gloria Steinem says, “but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
This day isn’t about any one cause or one concern. Instead, it’s about unity and celebration. It’s about reflection, advocacy and action. It’s up to each group, and each individual, to decide how their specific observation of the day can highlight or tackle related aims.
International Women’s Day is observed in different ways around the globe, but the common focus on equality is evident. Since the Suffragettes forged IWD alongside their movement, women have marked this day through unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy, action, and strength.
Ten specific values guide and direct those actions:
Men and women from around the globe are invited to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th. The day is a time to honor and celebrate women’s achievements and to advocate for future progress as well.
Tell Us What You Think
Will you observe International Women’s Day this year? What will you do? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.