Mark your calendars, because International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8th!

International Women’s Day is “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.  It is a day intended to celebrate the achievements of women throughout history but also a day to remember that gender inequality does indeed continue to exist throughout the world. Although the first International Women’s day occurred in 1911 after a protest by suffragettes in New York City against the rising inequality that was coming from industrialization, International Women’s Day is celebrated all over the world. In Russia, for instance, the first International Women’s Day occurred in 1917 after thousands of women took to the streets to march for reform from the Tsarist government.

Every year International Women’s Day is linked with a specific theme that works towards the empowerment of women. This year’s theme is #PressForProgress, and revolves around the fact that there is still a lot of work to be done for gender equality and that gender equality in the workplace is still many years away. Right now more than ever, and with the help of movements such as #TimesUp, women are finding the voice to speak up against injustices and demanding a change to the narrative. While the Global Gender Gap survey may show that there is still a lot of work to be done in the fight for women’s rights, that is no reason to be discouraged from continuing to press on for equal rights.

As a young female college student, having a day that commemorates the struggles of women while also highlighting our accomplishments thus far means a lot. Celebrating the amazing women who have come before me, from my mother to my favorite authors, reminds me how AMAZING women are and that the sky really is the limit. At the same time, knowing that a day like this exists also acknowledges that women continue to be silenced and treated unfairly and it encourages me to raise my voice in times of difficulty. This year, I will try to #PressForProgress by challenging myself to speak up especially in male-dominated settings, and remind myself that my ideas are just as valid as everyone else’s. 

How will you #PressForProgress this year?