At the beginning of March, across the globe International Women’s Day was celebrated. The day is an opportunity to reflect on the progression that has been made over the years to advance the rights of women in all areas of society.
However, it is also an occasion to consider and put into action the changes that undoubtedly still need to happen. The message is clear – to encourage the social, economic, cultural, and political equality of women everywhere! It also gives a platform to strong, resilient, and inspiring women, empowering many to take action.
After the buzz of International Women’s Day, what is sometimes forgotten is that action must be taken throughout the year for these advancements to happen. So, just about two months later, what are the best ways to promote the equality of women on International Women’s Day and beyond?
If you aren’t familiar with the issues that still impact women in your own country or other countries across the world, take the time to read about the issues. Reflect on how the challenges described may impact you or those around you and any obvious solutions.
Have the confidence to educate those around you. This could be family members, peers, or colleagues. It may be correcting an inappropriate comment or even discussing how certain cultures or behaviors make you feel as a woman. By offering others knowledge, it urges them to change their perspective and consequently adapt their behavior.
A great way to support a cause is to donate. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a monetary donation. Donating your time to a cause is another great way of supporting it.
Becoming involved by giving up your time often leads to a great sense of fulfillment too! You can also focus on signposting others to that cause through your own social media platforms.
There are countless charities around the globe that support women for a variety of different reasons. Find the one that suits you and determine the best way you can contribute. If you don’t want to commit to an ongoing contribution, you could consider doing a ‘one-off’ charity challenge or event!
Support Female Ventures
Shockingly, only 1% of venture capitalist funding goes to businesses founded by all females (UK VC & Female Founders, report, February 2019) and men are 2X more likely to be entrepreneurs than women in the UK! (Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, HM Treasury 2019).
It is clear that female-run businesses are an area that is lacking progress. Becoming a customer of a business conceptualized and led by women, or even just demonstrating support online by sharing the business’ content, is a great way to help promote women in business.
The impact of encouraging the success of female-founded ventures are two-fold. Not only does it increase the current numbers to level the playing field, but it also sets a great example for other women and future generations.
Increasing the number of role models visible to other women and younger generations is a powerful way of influencing change in the future. If society normalizes the concept of being a female business owner, more women and young girls will have the confidence to aspire to do the same thing.
If you are a woman or man in a particular profession or a senior position, there is likely to be others looking to follow in your footsteps. Offering these women advice and guidance on the best way to progress is a great way of enabling women to have equal opportunity in the professional world.
Mentoring is a powerful tool in supporting others. It is worth reading about it and even gaining qualification in this skill area to ensure you deliver great mentorship.
If this may seem a step too far, consider seeking a mentor for yourself. Many organizations offer this within or outside the workplace, and many successful senior male and female figures will swear by the perspective and development a mentor offered them.
Remain Judgment Free
Remember, International Women’s Day is all about empowering women to promote equality. There is no ‘correct’ way of being a woman, and each woman should be celebrated for their choices! Equality for women isn’t about defining what a modern-day woman should or should not do.
It is an opportunity to support women who are working mothers and carefully balancing parenting with high pressure careers, women who decide not to have children (and remembering we should not force a societal narrative on to them just because they are women), or women who have decided to stay at home to support their family.
It is very easy to focus on supporting one category of women and forget that International Women’s Day is about creating equality for women and therefore choices, regardless of a women’s position, race, religion, sex, culture, individual decisions, personal circumstance…
Most importantly, continue to celebrate the successes and the inspirational female role models across the globe every day and not just on International Women’s Day. In these trying times, it is even more important to promote, encourage each other, and raise the challenges and profiles of women everywhere.