International Women’s day has been observed annually for 110 years to celebrate the often-overlooked achievements of women both currently and throughout history. And this year, there’s a lot to celebrate.
In the past 12 months, women have once again proven how resilient, adaptive, and resourceful we are. Despite the obstacles women face, we have still become influential scientists, athletes, activists, healthcare workers, and mothers—and 2020 was no exception.
Scientist Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett was one of the leading scientists behind the US government’s vaccine research efforts last year. Tennis player Naomi Osaka won the US Open while advocating for the Black Lives Matter movement. DACA-recipient Máxima Guerrero risked deportation by protesting for BLM. Internal medicine physician Dr. Jane Bedell came out of retirement to help fight the pandemic. A group of “Mighty Moms” in Louisiana raised funds to deliver meals to children who were no longer receiving free lunches from the school district due to the pandemic. Throughout the year, women were proving how incredible they are.
But despite all of these achievements, on a global scale, women continued to be underpaid, overworked and underestimated.
Women still experience gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault at rates exponentially higher than men. Girls and young women are still sex trafficked and forced into child marriages against their will. Globally, women and girls still do not have the same access to educational opportunities as men and boys do.
So while we are making strides towards true gender parity, there is still a lot of work to be done. That’s why it’s important that this International Women’s Day, we remember to honor the hard work of the women in our lives now and honor the contributions from generations before us.
However, it goes without saying that this International Women’s Day will be like no other International Women’s Day we’ve experienced before. In years past, we had the luxury of celebrating International Women’s Day by attending speeches, rallies, or get-togethers. This year, like every other day of the last 12 months, we’ll be stuck at home. But that doesn’t mean that we still can’t celebrate.
Like every other holiday, we’ll simply have to adapt. Here is a round-up of ways you can celebrate International Women’s Day while you’re at home during a pandemic.
- Shout-out female co-workers you admire on your daily zoom meeting.
If you’re working from home, you likely have a daily zoom meeting in which you touch base with your work team. This International Women’s Day, take the time to acknowledge the women you work with who have inspired you this year. Maybe one coworker is pulling double-duty with working from home and distance learning. Perhaps another coworker has been directly affected by the virus, either personally or through a loved one. Let the women you work with know that you see them.
- Change your profile picture frame for the day
Let your friends and followers know about your commitment to celebrating women around the world and advancing gender parity. Change your Facebook or Instagram profile picture to one of many International Women’s Day picture frames. Simply go to facebook.com/profilepicframes and search “International Women’s Day” in the search bar. Choose which frame you like best, and voila!
- Donate to a female-focused charity
If you prefer to celebrate IWD more privately, consider donating to a cause or organization dedicated to advancing and uplifting women and girls. Whether the cause closest to your heart is education, reproductive health, or ending gender violence, there are many organizations out there that will fit your needs. Check out a list of female-focused charities endorsed by IWD here.
- Host a virtual watch-party of a female-empowering film or documentary.
No, we’re not able to have a large movie-night slumber party or head to the movie theater with friends, but we’re still able to gather, albeit virtually. Thanks to pandemic-era tech like Netflix Party and Hulu Watch Party, you’re now able to watch movies together with your friends while you’re far apart. Choose a film that is both feminist and female-focused. Some options include Suffragette, Hidden Figures, A League of Their Own, Trapped, and RBG.
- Post a tribute on social media to an unsung woman that you’ve admired this year.
Take IWD as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on a woman who has been your role model, who maybe hasn’t gotten the praise she deserves. Perhaps that woman is a public figure like an author, an artist, or a politician. Or maybe that woman is someone in your life who has consistently amazed you in the last 12 months. Whatever you choose, be sure to hashtag your post #ChooseToChallenge — the 2021 International Women’s Day official slogan.
- Attend one of many IWD virtual events
No, we can’t attend IWD events in person, but luckily, the organization has created an exciting lineup of events to attend virtually. Participate in International Women’s Day x Women@Indeed panel that focuses on women in the workplace. Or the Diversity in Stem panel, which will discuss “how to tackle challenges to create inclusive STEM environments.” Or even join Women Who Rock’s virtual concert, described as a “multi-genre female empowerment concert.” There is a list of hundreds of events on IWD’s website here.
- Talk to your employer about diversity and inclusion
Take IWD as a time to reach out to your employer and advocate for gender and cultural inclusion. If you’re unsure of where to start, consider broaching the topics of paid maternity leave, diversity and inclusion training, flexible scheduling for working moms, and actively working to recruit women and women of color.
- Host an online discussion with men and allies
Yes, men should participate in IWD too! In years past, we might’ve suggested hosting a dinner party where men, women, and non-binary folks were able to gather and discuss gender-related issues. Well, this year, that’s obviously not an option. Instead, opt for a Zoom discussion with open-minded individuals. Use IWD as an opportunity to educate and enlighten folks who might not be as invested in women’s issues as you are. Who knows? You might change their outlook forever.