The year is 1911 and the first annual International Women’s Day is being celebrated. What started as a gathering to observe and promote equal rights, including women’s suffrage, quickly morphed into what we know it as today: “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.” While there is still a long road of progress to be paved, fast-forward to today, women are able to vote, drive, be educated, and run major companies and industries. Mark March 8th in your calendars and read on to see why this day in history really matters!
Now if you’re thinking “girl power!” in your head as you read this, then read on. IWD is not about sending flowers to a special woman in your life – save that for Mother’s Day. It’s not meant to be a meme or trendy hashtag you post once for the day and then move on. It’s an opportunity to appreciate and celebrate the extraordinary women both in your life and in the world, and continue that appreciation every day. Even the UN tells us it’s a day to “reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”
One of the driving forces behind IWD has always been women’s equality in the workplace, among many others, and here at Social High Rise we are exceedingly proud to say our ratio of female employees has never been higher. We are currently an 80% female-driven company, and because of this, we always make a point to recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day! In the wise words of Michelle Obama, “no country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.” This could be applied to so many areas in life, but the workplace is a perfect example. The good news is hope is on the horizon! As of 2018, 12.3 million businesses in the U.S. are woman-owned, women own 4 out of every 10 businesses in the U.S., and since 2007 the number of female-owned businesses has increased 58%. Additionally, in 2018 47% of these women-owned businesses were owned by women of color, who also employed 2.2 million people and generated $386.6 billion in revenue. When you compare this to just a few decades ago, these numbers are truly inspiring!
The day itself is an official holiday in more than 25 countries and an unofficial holiday in several others. Many countries spend the day marching or rallying in support of the holiday for women, while others pay homage to historical sites or shrines. Many people in New York, NY, for instance, have begun to visit and adorn the Fearless Girl statue at Bowling Green as a symbol of powerful women. In many countries, the holiday is still largely ignored, but each year sees more improvement and change across the world. This is aided by the United Nations, who every year sets the International Women’s Day Theme that will be celebrated. This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter – balance in pay, balance in the workforce, in education and many other areas. While we can still strive for greater gender equality across the globe, tomorrow is always a new day and a new opportunity to build a better world.
Having now been on the Social High Rise team for over two years I can honestly say there are few things better than working on a team of strong, kind, badass women who support and encourage you. Even more inspiring – working on a team where the men in the group are just as encouraging and supportive! If that doesn’t give you hope for a better future, I don’t know what will. Every year when International Women’s Day rolls around, we celebrate and recognize our fellow females! If you’re looking for events in your area, just visit the IWD website to look in your country and city. What women-driven companies or organizations inspire you? Share in the comments and tell us how you will be celebrating the women in your life when March 8th rolls around!