Today marks 110 years since the very first International Women’s Day gathering. Yes, 110 years! On the one hand, so much has changed, improved and developed since then. On the other, there is still so much to do.
This weekend, in British Columbia, The Richmond Women’s Resource Centre hosted an online International Women’s Day event when the group was suddenly “bombed.” Within seconds, attendees were facing sexist and racist images, sounds and language that anonymous internet trolls who had breached their private online forum began to post. While the group was understandably shaken and upset, members started to tweet things like this:
Resource Centre President Tammi Belfer said, “The incident only proves that the group’s mission of standing up for women is as badly needed as aver. At first, we were distressed and shocked, and they were angry and motivated to say, you know what? Our work is important.”
And important it is. Clearly, over a century after the movement began, women still at times face unimaginable discrimination and abuse. We all have a role to play in overcoming those statistics.
Here’s how you can engage, learn, and support IWD and its goals all year long:
- Learn more about IWD, its history and its future at https://www.internationalwomensday.com/.
- Access resources in your community. Here in BC, check out The Richmond Women’s Resource Centre at https://richmondwomenscentre.bc.ca/ or Google women’s groups in your area.
- Support female-focused charities. On the IWD site, you can contribute with a few clicks of your mouse https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Fundraising or help fund initiatives in your local community.
In addition to those suggestions, we must keep the conversation going. Yes, we mark the day, the week and even the month, but conversations we have with our friends, family and coworkers daily are just as essential to the goal of raising awareness and supporting the women in our lives. How we discuss current events, raise awareness in our families and interact with colleagues becomes the norm, and we can all impact that norm for the better.
Here are some questions you may wish to ponder or discuss with someone else:
- Why do you think it’s important to observe IWD?
- Who do you feel is responsible for taking action on women’s issues?
- What do you believe can be done to address gender stereotypes?
- Where do you imagine the most significant challenges will occur?
- When will equality finally be met?
- How can I help?
The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is ‘Choose To Challenge‘. As the IWD site says, “a challenged world is an alert world. And from challenge comes change.” At The Neutral Zone, where half our team is female, we join others in our #ChooseToChallenge. We are committed to having tough conversations, asking challenging questions and remaining role models of gender equality.
Here’s a video to get you started.
Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.