If you’ve been practicing MNB daily, you’ll know a thing or two about the power of the sisterhood. As we approach the big day, we invited our friends at the Australian National Committee for UN Women to give us the lowdown on celebrating International Women’s Day. From random acts of kindness to getting behind the big issues, you can make a positive difference and inspire change in the lives of women and girls around you.
Hey, it’s nearly our day! March 8 is International Women’s Day – the one day of the year to celebrate us for just being us! On March 8, if you woke up in Italy you’d expect a bunch of mimosas with your morning cup of tea. In France it would be lily-of-the-valley or violets; while in Australia you’ll see lots of purple ribbons. It’s the week of International Women’s Day and the ribbons reflect the purple, white and green worn by the suffragettes a hundred years ago as they fought – and died – for the right to vote. Ever since, they’ve been associated with international campaigns to end violence against women.
In Australia women have been voting since 1895 in South Australia, with voting rights spreading across the country until, by 1911, all states and territories recognised women’s right to vote. Women have been elected to public office since 1921 and one even became Prime Minister in 2010. There are laws and workplace policies against discrimination and domestic abuse, including maternity leave, and women have been holding their own in business and academia.
In Australia, we’ve come a long way, even if we are yet to achieve gender equality.
But how does the rest of the world’s women and girls fare? How can you support women to be their best, to follow their dreams, to be free from violence and thrive at home, work and school – here and overseas?
Here are 8 simple things you can do to celebrate International Women’s Day:
1. Tell the first woman you meet in the morning how wonderful she is and give her a big smile. We all need a bit of positive reinforcement to be our best!
2. Wear a purple ribbon. Purple has been associated with women power ever since the suffragette movement. Show the world that you believe in the power of women by wearing a purple ribbon this week!
3. Be kind to yourself and to others. Take a moment to reflect on acts of kindness you’ve experienced or offered up to others. Celebrate them.
4. Get informed. Take time to learn about women and girls in other parts of the world. What are their lives like? What can you do about inequality, poverty and injustice? It is International Women’s Day after all. Check out this video as a start.
5. Give your time to a cause you care about that promotes women and girls. You’ve heard it before, but you can be the change you want to see in the world. Maybe you want to volunteer locally. Or you can fundraise for an organisation supporting women and girls overseas, like the Australian National Committee for UN Women. Read up on a few great ideas and host your own morning tea, movie night, fun run or special event!
6. If you’re short on time, you can always donate to a cause you care about. When it comes to International Women’s Day, you can donate to the Australian National Committee for UN Women’s 2014 campaign to lift women and girls out of poverty. Your investment supports UN Women projects helping women and girls go to school, get a job or escape from violence.
7. Follow UN Women on Twitter and spread the word about gender equality to your family and friends.
8. Women’s rights are recognised and protected by national and international laws. Never let anyone treat you less than you deserve. Be a UN woman! Happy International Women’s Day! Want to make a difference? Learn more here.