International Women’s Day, on March 8th of every year, is a global day of celebration of the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. It’s an significant day as we all come together to call for a more inclusive, gender-equal world.
In 2017, we recognise the 106th anniversary since the first International Women’s Day was recognised. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. Today, while we have made great strides for women in many countries across the world, there is still a huge need for us to come together in unity, advocacy and celebration as we take action to continue to fight for gender equality as it affects different individuals.
This year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange. But what can you do to celebrate and take action on the day?
There are a number of key ways in which you can be part of the celebrations, working to end domestic violence and sexual assault. Here are just 4 ideas:
- Education and awareness-raising
- Supporting charities
- Celebrating women in your life
Education and awareness-raising
You can make a difference by challenging derogatory, discriminatory language you come across in everyday conversation. This could include calling out bias or stereotypes which perpetuate gender inequality.
We can all work to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault by sharing information and resources about these issues, including about common myths and misconceptions. Learn more about healthy relationships, sexual assault, the types of abusive behaviour, and about sexual consent.
With this knowledge, you can campaign for the prevention and end of all forms of domestic violence and sexual assault, challenging those who seek to justify the actions of perpetrators and perpetuate victim blaming. We can also feel more able to recognise the signs of domestic or sexual violence, and support a friend or family member who may have been or is currently being abused. You can share information about the Bright Sky app which allows users to find their closest domestic abuse support service.
By supporting local and national charities that support women and girls in crisis you can enable them to continue their work. As a volunteer, you can offer up invaluable time and skills to support them in a range of ways, depending on your personal interests.
Many organisations depend on donations from the public to be able to maintain and develop services to support those in need. You can donate to one (or more) of the UK SAYS NO MORE non-profit partner organisations today, who work across domestic violence support services, sexual assault, counselling, homelessness, mental health and more. Many of our partner organisations also have exciting volunteering opportunities.
As an activist, you can speak out against gender inequality and gender based violence by joining activist groups, protests and demonstrations. Check out some of the events happening on and around International Women’s Day, including the Million Women Rise march and rally on Saturday 11th March!
You can take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault by adding your photo to the UK SAYS NO MORE Gallery, along with others nationwide. Wearing the NO MORE pin is also an easy and effective way of demonstrating your support for the initiative, and can often spark conversations with others who are curious about its meaning.
You can also become a social media activist by sharing information and resources online, such as about support services for women in crisis in your area, or sharing articles or content which raise awareness of issues around domestic violence and sexual assault.
— Women’s Day (@womensday) March 1, 2017
Celebrating women you know
Why not take the day to celebrate the women in your life who have made a positive impact on you. Whether it’s your mother, sister, aunt, teacher, friend or colleague – why not start conversations today about why they are so important to you. Pledge to be there for them and help them out should they confide in you about needing support.
As an employer, you can pledge to be a progressive and inclusive employer, championing women in the workplace and building effective, opportunity-filled organisations. We can all also celebrate women in the public eye (social, economic, cultural and political figures) who are using their voice to take a stand against gender inequality, prejudice, and all forms of domestic and sexual violence. Check out some of the other ways you can #BeBoldForChange!