Celebrating International Women's Day - March 8
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Equity is not a nice to have, it is a must have’.
Equity is about ensuring that everyone achieves equal outcomes while recognising that we all start from different places. Not every person will have the same circumstances or the same resources to reach an equal outcome and so it is important that we look at what individuals need to achieve equity.
International Women’s Day (IWD) was first held in New York City in 1957, where female textile workers marched in protest of unfair working conditions and women’s rights. This was the first of what would turn out to be hundreds of protests organised by women over the years.
This International Women’s Day, we encourage you to celebrate women’s achievements and spread awareness about discrimination.
Considerations for how you can celebrate International Women's Day
International Women’s Day is a celebration as well as a day for standing up for women’s rights and against discrimination, so don’t be afraid to get creative with it.
- Encourage people to wear purple; this colour signifies justice and dignity, as seen in the colours of the Women’s Social and Political Union.
- Decorate the office; this can be as simple as sticking up purple decorations along with images or quotes from some inspirational women who have paved the way over the years for women’s rights and against discrimination. You can add in some light refreshments in a common area and an interesting dialogue may arise between colleagues.
- Write thank you cards: These do not have to be sent anywhere, but are a nice gratitude exercise and one that helps us recognise the powerful women in our lives by writing down how they have helped us become who we are or to do what we do. It is up to the individual what they do with their card, but a nice thoughtful exercise either way.
- Host your own event: There is always the option to host your own event to mark the day. Using the designated theme ‘Equity is not a nice to have, it is a must have’, speeches and panels can be focused on your interpretation of the theme and allow you to draw on the community of thinking around this topic while showcasing the work you are doing locally.
- Download Teams/Zoom backgrounds to use in your virtual meetings.
While many companies choose to support International Women’s Day and fuel the conversation and connect their brand to this important focus, others see this as only part of the continuous work they are doing all year long. Some of the initiative's organisations are supporting throughout the year include:
- Supporting a women’s charity: A pro-active and impactful action includes directly donating to a charity that helps women and truly makes a difference. This can take different forms – some partner with a charity over a number of years to help raise awareness of their work and their services e.g. Allianz and Women’s Aid. Some businesses ask employees to choose their charity or offer matched funding to any monies raised. Others support these charities by setting up a donation link on their website, linking donations to virtual challenges across the organisation or running an awareness campaign on their behalf.
- Becoming a member of a women’s networks: By becoming a corporate member of a women’s network or sponsoring a number of individual memberships, your staff will gain access to other professional women and will learn through conversation and exclusive seminars and training. It is a way of showing support to the wider female business community and also showing that you are serious about gender balance in the corporate space. There are a number of different networks working in this space including the Professional Women’s Network (PWN) and the Women’s Executive Network (WXN).
- Sponsoring women’s sporting leagues and campaigns showcase women’s contributions in other areas and provide practical support to local sports clubs e.g. Westerwood Global and Galway camogie.
On this day we remember the hundreds of women who have come before us, the many who will come after us and the ones who are with us right now. We all have a role to play and 8 March, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to let your voice be heard and your organisations to get involved.
Policy Executive (Graduate)