Tuesday, March 8th is International Women’s Day. This global day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women’s Day (IWD) has been celebrated and observed since the early 1900’s. Over the years, it has developed and grown and while today, we have much to celebrate, progress towards gender parity has slowed in many places. It is for this reason that the IWD 2016 campaign theme is #PledgeForParity.
There are various ways in which we as women can choose to take action, acknowledge and celebrate this day. Every day, we read about women and girls around the world who are victims. We have a responsibility to stand united and work together in the ongoing struggle for the rights of women and girls worldwide. They have a right to live full, healthy, and productive lives. The sentiment behind this day is in fact, something we should carry with us 365 days a year.
Lending our voices to organisations and or campaigns that support women’s human rights is always important. The Global Fund for Women is one such organisation. This body stands behind movements for women’s human rights all over the world. We can be proactive in our support by assisting organisations like Women’s Refuge, or sharing our opinions via forums like the National Council of Women of New Zealand. In fact, one of the most simple ways to celebrate this day is just for us all to make an effort to be kinder to each other as women in our day to day lives.
There are some of us who may choose to join a community or movement that fosters conversations about global issues that affect women. Through dialogue and collaboration, together we can all create a better world. This is the vision and mission of the Women’s Collective, which is one of the organisations that we stand in support of through sponsorship, here at The Sisters wine.
Another organisation we support, which has made it their mission to “empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to thrive in work and life,” is Dress for Success. It offers local hands-on support that changes women’s lives. There are various ways in which you can get involved by donating quality clothing right through to financial donations. If you want to learn more about the two main New Zealand affiliates, details are on the Auckland and Wellington websites.
And it doesn’t have to be only the voices of women, supporting women. The White Ribbon Campaign, started by a men’s movement in Canada in 1991 has been officially adopted by the United Nations as its International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It is celebrated annually in New Zealand in November. It is a great example of how we are stronger united.
There are many different and varied ways to celebrate who we are as women, to support each other and be part of a global conversation. To quote one of the world’s leading advocates of civil rights, Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
We hope that however you decide to celebrate International Women’s Day, it begins with celebrating and acknowledging yourself as a woman who does extraordinary things, every day. We’ll toast to that.