Around my table, every person of any gender can expect a warm welcome and a hearty meal any day of the year. Even so, March 8 is a special day to me. International Women’s Day is a worldwide holiday that celebrates the cultural, socioeconomic, and political achievements of women, like Maria Wessa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 or Hello Seven, a women-run company working to create equity in business and the workplace.
How International Women’s Day As We Know It Came To Be
The first seeds of International Women’s Day were planted in 1908 when 15,000 women marched in New York City to demand shorter work days, higher wages, and the right to vote. Two years, later at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Denmark, Clara Zetkin suggested commemorating the event internationally. One hundred women from 17 countries unanimously carried Zetkin’s motion. March 8 became the date we now celebrate in 1917, when Russian women went on strike to demand “bread and peace”. They won the right to vote after the czar was forced to abdicate. In 1975, the United Nations began officially celebrating the holiday and now host yearly themed celebrations.
That’s a lot of inspiring history, isn’t it?
International Women’s Day And Everyday Leadership
But what I really love about this holiday is that it reminds us to celebrate women’s leadership in our everyday lives. If you’ve ever been to a large family dinner, the women of the household eat after the family and guests have been served. This idea of “leaders eating last” is a central tenet to many leadership and business management philosophies. We’ve all felt the love and self-assured leadership when a mother, grandmother, or hostess ensures that her family has what they need for the benefit of the entire household and the greater community beyond that.
The power of women’s leadership extends beyond the home:
- The hairstylist who can transform your mood and boost your confidence in mere hours
- The manicurist who holds your hands and makes you feel safe as you express your thoughts about your life
- Courageous nurses who keep us safe and healthy on the front lines during a pandemic
- The parents, often moms, who organize to make up budget deficits in their children’s schools
- The intense passion of teenage girls fuels the wild success of boy bands and girl bands around the world
In their own ways, they give us the strength to be more of ourselves. To find our own small ways to make the world a little better today.
Women’s International Day is evolving into a more explicit movement for gender equality, as the 2022 UN theme suggests: “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” We can’t create a sustainable tomorrow economically, culturally, or environmentally without gender equality. Let’s build on the achievements of the women of history and the women in our lives who model leadership, resourcefulness, and innovation to make tomorrow better for all genders.
How Are You Celebrating International Women’s Day?
Where else do women model leadership in your life? Take a moment today to celebrate them with a social post, a text message, or a meal with Abuelita.