International Women Day
Office Life

International Women’s Day: How to Celebrate at The Office

We take a look at 5 ways to celebrate International Women’s Day at work

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year and commemorates the women’s rights movement. First observed on February 28, 1909, in New York, the 1910 International Women’s Conference proposed March 8 as International Women’s Day. The following year, over a million people in Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, and Austria marked Women’s Day in March for the first time.

Women were demanding the right to vote and to hold public office, as well as protesting sex discrimination. Initially, the day was mainly celebrated in socialist or communist countries. But everything changed in 1975 when the United Nations officially adopted March 8 as International Women’s Day.

Why Do We Need Women’s Day Now?

Although great strides have been made since the early 1900s in relation to women’s rights, gender inequality persists around the globe. According to the United Nations, women earn 77 cents for every dollar made by men for work of equal value.

In spite of the fact that women comprise more than half the world’s population, women hold less than 23% of parliamentary seats worldwide. And, sadly, women in many countries suffer from lack of access to healthcare, lack of education and poverty to a disproportionate extent.

5 Ways To Celebrate International Women’s Day At Work

1. Join a March

IWD often involves marches across the country. Why not get your colleagues together and join a march near you, or even organise one yourself. Marchers protest issues like gender violence, labour rights and equal pay for equal work, as well as reproductive justice and the freedom of choice for all women.

2. Commit to Gender Diversity

The UN says that while 76% of men are represented in the global workforce, only 50% of women are. And women mostly work in low-paid, lower-skill or domestic occupations.

Take steps in your company to ensure gender diversity and fight gender discrimination. Diversity leads to higher work performance, creativity and innovation, and improved reputation.

3. Hold a Women’s Day Event at Work

Why not organise a Women’s Day-themed tea or lunch, with women speakers from either inside or outside the company? Email staff to raise awareness, and make sure your company shows its commitment to gender parity in its communications, such as social media.

4. Help a Women’s Shelter

Globally, women and children suffer disproportionately from family violence. Taking the difficult step of leaving an abusive domestic situation often means turning to a women’s shelter for help.

These shelters usually rely on donations from the public to keep going. Why not organise a collection of money (and even clothes) for your local shelter in celebration of IWD?

5. Celebrate Women’s Creativity

Women have made huge contributions to the world in all fields, but also in the arts. Why not take your colleagues to an art gallery or a museum, especially if they are holding events to celebrate IWD. If you love film, organise a screening of a film of special interest to women, with an opportunity to chat afterwards.