International Women's Day and Internet Responses

International Women’s Day was created to recognize women all over the world who work, struggle, and support those who continue to reach for the goal of closing the gap of gender inequality. March 8th’s IWD has been around for over 100 years, empowering women to continue to achieve for equality, particularly with the wage gap. Here in America, women have the human right to vote, sit in positions of power, and be just as financially successful as their husbands. Many organizations, companies and charities have created campaigns and projects geared toward empowerment of women and giving awareness to the societal issue of gender inequality. They have  taken to the internet to get their points across. Social media and other websites use days like IWD to not only show their support to their users, but to also get more user engagement among one another.

This year the International Women’s Day website’s theme is #MakeItHappen. The goal is to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. Youtube’s recent #DearMe campaign is a good example of this theme. What a better way to make things happen quickly than to get social issues recognized at an international level with videos? The catch phrase “it all starts with 2 words” is the starting reference explaining that even large issues can be addressed with a simple start. The #DearMe campaign was inspired for IWD and modeled off the #ItGetsBetter project (which was a response to teen suicide and gay teenagers being bullied or having a hard time dealing with the negative feedback of their lifestyles). The concept of this campaign is for Youtube users to upload videos where they give advice or words of wisdom to their younger selves. The goal is for younger women everywhere to be empowered by others who are or have gone through similar experiences and hardships. The commercial for this campaign starred famous female Youtube stars such as Hannah Hart, Grace Helbig, Lilly Singh (Superwoman), Felicia Day, Lindsey Sterling, Ihascupcake, Bunny Meyers, Michelle Phan, and Laci Green. Within an hour of the introduction of the campaign, it blew up all over the internet. The launch was so successful that Youtube started a Tumblr page (youtubedearme.com) where users could upload GIFs that were to be posted based around the #DearMe campaign.

Another internet sensation, with the help of the Superbowl, is #LikeAGirl (plenty of hashtags this year) by Always. The new video uploaded for International Women’s Day from the project is called “Stronger Together”. The video reminds young women going through puberty and older that being a girl isn’t bad or insulting. The project is to keep the confidence in young women and to never let your gender keep you from doing what you want to succeed in.

Emma Watson responded to IWD through the internet as well! The actress and equality activist will be doing a live Q & A for HeForShe, a solidarity movement for gender equality. Gender inequality is not only a women's problem, but a human rights issue.

Unfortunately, while going through comments and posts of videos and articles of these women’s empowering campaigns and projects, readers and users will find a fair amount of hate and negativity toward the issuing being addressed. To be fair, most of these comments are being posted by a small minority of individuals who feel the way they do in their opinions. Forbes Contributor, Margie Warrell, wrote an article on how the closing of the gender gap is everyone’s business. Warrell addresses that those who look to positions of power to campaign is a good way to get information out there, but to never rely on those figures. Taking a personal responsibility for change is the best way to see results. She states that in order to support equality, you must acknowledge and do what you can to advance yourself and also for the people around you. Like Margie Warrell says, this is an “everybody problem." Inequality has a place with every gender. Many men are raised to only be masculine and that is also an inequality situation that needs to become more recognized. Inequality throughout every gender needs to be recognized.

In the end, International Women’s Day in the present is about the gap and to empower women to continue to achieve and challenge those who do not want equality for all genders. You can do this by taking to social media! The International Women’s Day website has plenty of hashtags for your to use on social media to support the day!

#MakeItHappen

#womensday

#IWD2015

#internationalwomensday

#PaintItPurple

Or follow the IWD twitter pages @womensday