March is Women’s History Month, a celebration that has been taking place since the late eighties. Each President to hold office since 1995 has made an annual proclamation of the month-long event recognizing the milestones that women have fought for and achieved since coming into their own national power. This year, President Trump paid homage to women who forged the path for other women to pursue higher education, to female pilots of military aircraft, and to Jeannette Rankin, the first woman to hold Federal office. He also highlighted the ways his administration intends to uplift women today — though, a cynical reader like me finds the ground he covers in proclamation blatantly self-serving. In any case, at least he hasn’t canceled Women’s History Month.
Even more historic than Women’s History Month itself is International Women’s Day, which takes place on Friday, March 8th. The holiday grew out of a National Woman’s Day in 1909 when the Socialist Party of America honored the previous year’s garment workers’ strike that demanded higher pay, shorter hours, and an end to child labor. By 1911, the day went international and rallied behind equal working rights, the right to vote and hold public office, and access to vocational training.
Over time, International Women’s Day has come to reflect the changing demands of generations. This year’s campaign hashtag, #balanceforbetter, focuses on the collective effort to support and celebrate a gender-balanced world by working toward equality through media coverage of women’s accomplishments, wage parity in the workplace, and representation in government. Various events all over the world will be taking place in recognition of the International Women’s Day; you can find one near you on their site, unless you’d like to register your own event to their searchable database.
There are also a few “flagship events” featured by the sponsors. General Assembly, the tech curriculum, is hosting “Women in Industry” panels across the U.S. that will discuss gender diversity and unconscious biases in the workplace. Figures from recent years show that white men outnumber women (and all other demographics) six-fold when it comes to computer science degrees. Apple is also celebrating with flagship seminars beginning today and continuing into the month in large cities across the world — Paris, London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong. Everyone is welcome to attend the female-led seminars that cover everything from creating gender-neutral portraits, DJing and making mixtapes, tips on how to design an app, and how to use technology to create poetry.