How You Should Celebrate International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is a time to recognize the accomplishments of women world-wide and call on a change for any improvement in fixing the gender imbalance. This year’s global campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter! While women have come a long way in exceeding society’s expectations, the fact is...the fields are still not leveled. We should take this day to not only celebrate the successes of the inspiring women that surround us, but also use it as an opportunity to advocate for further progress.

Some issues that deserve #BalanceforBetter include the fact that in some communities, domestic and sexual violence against women is normalized by what some have termed a “rape culture”. In 2018, we still saw a gender pay gap, where according to PayScale, working women only earned $0.78 for every $1.00 made by a working man. Finally, women’s health care is at risk as Trump’s 2019 Budget reveals major cuts to programs that provide vital reproductive health care. While advocating for the right balance can take time, so here are some ideas for how to celebrate this special day! 

1. Show Appreciation for the Powerful Women in Your Life

On International Women’s Day, we should ask ourselves which women have been responsible for building your most ~amazing~ self and find some way to thank them. You can use this day to thank those role models and give them the love and support they deserve. I was lucky enough to have been raised by many strong women in my family and know I wouldn't have many of the qualities I do if they had not impacted my life. 

2. Be There for Women Who Look Up to You

Now, let’s flip the perspective. We can use this day to think of ways we can be role models to younger women we know. I don’t have any biological sisters, but I know that there might be younger girls in my sorority as well as my friends and cousins that are watching the moves I make. Ask yourself if you’re being the best woman you can be and if you're impacting another woman's life in a positive way. 

3. Volunteer

You can use your time to find an issue that you care the most about and do something about it. One way to make your point heard is to write to our lawmakers, whether that means calling for change or to congratulate a woman succeeding in her position! Don't forget to leave information so they can follow up with you! Another way to give your time could be to volunteer at your local women’s shelter or drop off needed supplies. Some options in the Iowa City area include: Shelter House and Women's Resource & Action Center.

4. Recognize These Accomplishments for Empowering Women

For much of 2018 and the start of this year we have seen many women accomplish extraordinary feats across the globe, but here are a few of my favorites:

  • Spain's newly appointed cabinet is mostly women.
    • Spain's Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, made history by appointing 11 women cabinet members out of the 17 total.
  • Women can now drive legally in Saudi Arabia.
    • Following King Salman's lift on a ban, women were able to register for driver's licenses this past summer, which gave them a freedom of movement never experienced before.
  • Women (and especially women of color) made history in the U.S. midterm elections.
    • Congress gained the first two Muslim women ever to serve; Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. In the House, Ayanna Pressley became the first black woman ever to serve, and we can't forget that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drew national recognition for winning the fight for a seat representing New York's 14th district, taking the seat away from a long-term incumbent. 

Happy International Women's Day!

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