It’s become an annual tradition for me to write a blog for International Women’s Day, a tradition I am keen to uphold. In previous years, I’ve spoken with inspirational women in PR and even placed our industry under the microscope, examining just where we fall short in the shift towards equality.
This year, everything is slightly different. With data from the UN suggesting that the pandemic could reverse 25 years of increasing gender equality, it’s vital we don’t forget about International Women’s Day in the midst of all the madness.
The theme for this year is #ChooseToChallenge, based on the idea that ‘a challenged world is an alert world’. This year’s theme invites us to recognise that we are all individually responsible for our own thoughts and actions that contribute to the move towards gender equality.
Each of us can choose to challenge acts of gender bias and inequality when we see them, just as we can choose to amplify and celebrate women’s experiences and achievements in the workplace and beyond. Collectively, it is our responsibility to do so if we ever hope to live in a truly inclusive world.
Being stuck at home, it might seem like there’s nothing you can do to support International Women’s Day this year. Thankfully, that’s far from the case. Read on for five things you can do today to #ChooseToChallenge from home…
Strike the #ChooseToChallenge pose
This year, the International Women’s Day organisation is asking you to hold your hand up high to show you’re in. Strike the pose and share a selfie on social media to show your commitment to challenge and call out inequality, while encouraging others to commit to helping forge an inclusive world. Don’t forget to use #ChooseToChallenge.
Learn about the history of International Women’s Day
Most of us have heard of International Women’s Day, but many aren’t aware of its history. For example, did you know that the first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911? You can read about the timeline of International Women’s Day, from before it existed to the modern-day, on the International Women’s Day website.
Support a female-owned business
With evidence suggesting the pandemic has hit female-owned businesses the hardest, it’s more important than ever to show our support to women-owned enterprises. A quick Google search will alert you to female-owned businesses in the area or industry you’re looking for, and many can be found across social media too.
Donate to a female-focused charity
Whatever cause you’re passionate about, there will be a charity doing incredible work in that field. From refugee support to mentorship schemes, here are some suggestions of remarkable, female-focused charities you can support:
- Choose Love – Women’s Support: Choose Love is a charity that supports refugees and displaced people across the globe. Their Women’s Support Pack (£25) will go towards providing safe spaces for female refugees.
- Girls Out Loud: Girls Out Loud is a UK-based charity that works with teenage girls with the mission of empowering them to channel their potential and make better life choices. Their Big Sister programme links young girls with female professionals to act as a mentor and friend.
- Dress for Success, Greater London: The mission behind Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence. They do this through the provision of professional attire, development tools and a support network to help women thrive in work and life.
- Young Women’s Trust: Young Women’s Trust is a feminist organisation that works to achieve economic justice for young women. They support young women aged 18-30, who are living on low or no pay and want to build a better future, as well as campaigning for young women’s equality in the workplace.
Attend a virtual event
While we may not be able to attend conferences and seminars in person this year (fingers crossed for 2022), the good news is that International Women’s Day has gone virtual. From the Museum of London’s Virtual Exhibition to the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World festival, there’s an International Women’s Day virtual event for everyone.
However you decide to mark International Women’s Day and whatever you #ChooseToChallenge, the important thing is that you do. After all, the fight for equality doesn’t stop because we’re all stuck at home.