I've tended to be a bit ambivalent about holidays like Women's Day and Earth Day. A single day feels inadequate to honor something so core to life itself. But I recently learned that Women's Day has its roots in the suffragette movement, which inspired me to honor my foremothers' work and carry it forward.
Obviously every day should be women’s day. But until women everywhere experience full equality as a basic human right, International Women’s Day serves to bring extra awareness to the transformation that needs to happen—and is happening. March 8 is a day when we can choose to dedicate energy to healing, sisterhood, and empowerment. And because so many across the globe are doing the same, our efforts are magnified and strengthened.
This year’s theme is #PressforProgress, a call to action to press forward to create progress around gender parity. We’ve put together a list of a few concrete ways you can engage with Women’s Day this year:
1. Celebrate a Woman’s Work: Bring attention to a woman’s creativity or achievement, be it at her home or office. Let her know you recognize her efforts and see if you can find a way to praise her contribution to others. For example, if you have a team meeting, take a moment to speak up about the value of the work a female colleague has been doing lately.
2. Connect with Your Female Ancestors: Take a moment to pause and feel all the women in your lineage, going back and back in time, even before record. Feel the streams of care from all the mothers and aunties and grandmothers, resulting in your existence here today. For Women’s Day, take a couple of minutes to give thanks to these women. You may wish to ask them for guidance or simply sit in silence feeling their presence. Once you’ve finished, notice if you feel called to reach out to anyone. Perhaps there’s a family member you’ve been meaning to connect with. Make this an opportunity to offer her gratitude in whatever way feels natural to you. You may also wish to honor her by learning more about her life. I recently spoke with my grandmother about her experience of pregnancy and childbirth, and through the conversation discovered that she was forced to quit her job (which she loved!) and never return as soon as she became pregnant. (In fact, she was supposed to have quit within three months of being married, but she stayed on as long as she could.) It gave me a deeper appreciation for her journey and also for how far we have come since then.
3. Help Extend Opportunities to Girls: Give to Black Girls Code. I’m really excited about this awesome nonprofit, whose mission is to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields. Learn more and donate here.
4. Challenge Assumptions about Women: Even if it’s subtle, dedicate yourself to challenging assumptions (both internal and external) that limit women. Some of these things are so habitual we barely notice, so tuning into your body can help. For me there’s often a sense of tightening, a contraction in my heart and throat that tells me something feels off. This red flag can give me the needed awareness to then vocalize a boundary. Commit yourself to speak up if you encounter a bias or stereotyping against women. And if something slips by, be gentle with yourself—we’re all learning—and re-assert your resolve to speak up next time.
5. Join the Global Sisterhood: Women’s circles give us a deep, visceral knowing that we are not alone. That sense of community brings us strength and ease that radiates out into our day-to-day contributions. On March 8, thousands of women from around the world will gather through Global Sisterhood’s sacred circles to empower, heal, and nurture ourselves and one another. “This movement is dedicated to healing within, to heal without. There’s something special about a synchronized healing at the same time—a palpable energy that amplifies the experience, so that we bring it home to our families and our work," says founder Lauren Walsh. Global Sisterhood will offer a special heart meditation for those who want to take part on March 8. You can join their live broadcast of the meditation, use the map to find a circle to attend in-person, or get the support you need to host your own circle. However you choose to participate, Global Sisterhood’s mission is to celebrate each other and heal the world. Because ultimately, they say, “It's not just about women; it’s about all of humanity.”