Happy International Women’s Day! I’m thankful to have crossed paths with each of you and to celebrate our importance together. We ARE important; we efficaciously bring life to the world we live in and make it a better place in so many ways. International Women’s Day carries a new theme each year and 2015 is the year to “Make It Happen.” If you think this is just a day to bake a cake and chat lady parts, you’re missing the mark. If you think “Why are we entitled to a gender-specific day?” then hear me out.
We’ve come a great distance as women since the first International Women’s Day in 1909, but there is still a significant amount of change to be had. We need this day for many reasons. So shall we ask why?
- Because the The World Economic Forum predicts that we’ll have to wait another 80 years for the global gender gap to close. I’d be 105 before I could be recognized for the same job my male counterparts would do. If I decided to have a daughter in my lifetime, she wouldn’t even see equality while in the workforce.
- Because you may feel okay with your current living conditions but this is an “international” issue. Think about women in less developed countries and ask yourself if we should abandon this day.
- Because 270 girls were kidnapped as a result of islamic terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria last year. Inspiring women from around the country raised awareness with #BringBackOurGirls, but it doesn’t change the facts that there are 230 girls still missing today.
- Because about one in three women will be beaten or raped during their lifetime. In fact, 38 percent of all murders of women worldwide are committed by a woman’s intimate partner.
- Because over 130 million women living in the world today have undergone female genital mutilation. Crazy, right?
- Because approximately 15 million girls, some as young as eight years old, will be forced into marriage in 2015.
- Because a controversial documentary filmed in India recently saw the rapist of a woman who was brutally gang raped and killed on a Delhi bus blame his victim by saying “A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy.” The documentary has since been banned in India.
- Because one-third of college men admit they would rape a woman as long as no one found out.
- Because a recent Angus Reid poll found that 24 percent of respondents think it’s possible that domestic violence victims “bring abuse upon themselves.”
- Because at least seven transwomen have been killed in the United States in the first few weeks of 2015.
- Because the hashtag #WomenAgainstFeminism exists.
- Because almost four in 10 Americans think women are “not ready” to be in power.
Find more reasons here.
Not to put a damper on your Sunday with crude facts, but they have to be shared in order for us to “make it happen.” Women are humans. Humans have rights. So let’s channel this celebration into productivity, enlightenment and even a little fun. Here are the ways I’d love to spend International Women’s Day:
1. Check out International Women’s Day on Pinterest
Find inspiring photos and factoids showcasing amazing women who have created change over the years on the official International Women’s Day Pinterest page. From Margaret Thatcher to Sheryl Sandberg, IWD has curated notable female accomplishments throughout history.
2. Celebrate Women in Your Life
Treat your mother to dinner and thank her for the obstacles she overcame to give you the life you’ve had. Take a best girlfriend out for drinks and chat about how much you inspire each other. The key to today is empowerment.
3. Find an Event to Attend
On the International Women’s Day site, you can search through more than 200 events in the U.S. and hundreds more worldwide.
4. Get Inspired on TED.com
Take some cues on empowerment from women who have dedicated their lives to better each other here.
5. Shop… (This IS a Style Blog)
Add a little sparkle to your look with Matterial Fix jewelry, a brand inspired by charities empowering girls. Every purchase is “a chance to make materialism matter.” Plus, 10% of sales is donated to help educate and empower women in countries worldwide. For example, my little elephant helped support and restore sex-trafficking victims in India.
Women’s rights advocate Diane von Furstenberg continues to promote International Women’s Day each year. Get 15% off DVF today and 15% of the proceeds will go to organizations nominated for the People’s Voice Awards.
Also be sure to check out the Givve Collection. Become a “givver” and shop Givve Collection’s brands to give back to women’s rights. (Check back on Cup of Charisma this week for an exclusive interview with Givve Collection founder Ashley Howell.)
6. Learn the History
The first International Women’s Day started in 1909. Learn how its evolved over the years.
7. Sign a Petition
Change.org offers a bevy of avenues to get your voice heard. Share your feelings for important causes and spark world change in a few easy clicks. From promoting body confidence by adding plus-size lines to banning transgender conversion therapy, you can begin to make a tiny ripple in a uncomfortably still pond. Check out the women’s rights petitions here.
8. Don’t Skip Through Today’s Google Video
9. Contribute to a Cause
Women for Women, Madre and NO MORE are a few of the countless organizations that contribute to women’s causes. To localize your efforts, consider donating to a women’s center near you. (One of my favorite South Florida organizations is Women In Distress.)
10. Read an Inspiring Book
Broaden your literary horizons with memoirs from galvanizing leading ladies. A few of my obvious favorites include Diane von Frustenberg’s The Women I Wanted to Be, Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS, and Malala Yousafzai’s I Am Malala.
11. Chat it Up with Emma Watson, Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women
This is not a drill! Emma will be discussing gender equality in London, March 8, to celebrate. She is holding the Q&A as part of the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign for gender equality. Watch it live on her Facebook page.
To get amped up, revisit her incredible HeForShe campaign launch and ask yourself “If not me, who? If not now, when?”: