How to get involved with International Women’s Day 2024

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and has become a key date in the calendar. The is day is celebrated on March 8th and this year the theme is ‘Inspire inclusion’ because when we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world. Unfortunately, despite women having more rights than they used to, we still have a long way to go to live in a world where women and men are equal. There are many ways you can do your part to support and celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, both as an individual and as an employer.

What is International Women’s Day and why it is important?

International Women’s Day is a day celebrated by many countries to acknowledge all women’s achievements and bring worldwide awareness to work that still needs to be done to accomplish complete equality. The first IWD was held in March 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland where more than one million men and women attended rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work and vote. However, it wasn’t recognized by the United Nations until 1975 and in 1996 they announced their first theme of “Celebrating the past, Planning for the Future”.

It can be a common misconception that because we see more women in senior roles, we have achieved equality, but this is far from true. For instance, women only hold 27% of tech-related jobs and 28% of all jobs in computer and mathematical occupations. It is important for both an employer and employee that we work together to increase this. Having gender diversity allows companies to have a wider talent pool to choose from and means they don’t miss out on high-quality talent just because of someone’s gender. It also gives rise to new ideas and new ways of problem-solving which can speed up productivity and profitability. In addition, it makes employees all feel valued and appreciated, increasing employee retention and loyalty to the company. We can also see inequality through the gender pay gap. According to the Office for National Statistics, the median pay for full-time employees was 7.7% less for women than for men in April 2023 in the UK.

How can we celebrate and support International Women’s Day 2024?

How to celebrate International Women’s Day as an individual

Firstly, you can use the day to learn about the history of IWD and female role models, whether this is by reading books, looking it up online or watching documentaries. Female role models are a powerful force in influencing other people’s decisions; if you see someone in a job you aspire to be in or speaking out about their opinions that you agree with, it can encourage you to do the same. Research has shown that role models have an increased benefit for women over men due to gender biases, institutional barriers, and negative stereotypes women have had to contend with. You can read about some famous women in tech role models here. Learning about the history of IWD will educate you on the importance of the day and empower you to do more for women and yourself.

Social media can also be your best friend when supporting IWD. One way to utilize your platforms is to share uplifting quotes about the day; you can find some examples of powerful quotes here and some from inspirational women in tech here. These words can help spread awareness about the day, encourage others to follow suit and educate and energize both women and men to support and celebrate alongside you. Some effective platforms to use are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Furthermore, it can help you connect with like-minded people, creating group solidarity.

Alternatively, you can use TikTok or Instagram reels to make ‘point of view’ content, a day in a life video or vlog, or share life stories, which can showcase what it’s like to be a woman, whether it’s problems you are currently facing/have faced because of your gender or how far you’ve come despite these barriers, showing your work-life balance, or sharing your opinion on a situation. This will help educate others who might not realise that these issues still occur and as these platforms are so popular, you could end up reaching a lot of people. But don’t forget to hashtag to maximise your chances of reaching a lot of people. Some you could use are #iwd #internationalwomensday #IWD2024 #womensupportingwomen #equality #InspireInclusion.

You can find more popular IWD hashtags here.

Another great way to support women is to support female-owned businesses, which you can do all year round, not just on International Women’s Day! How can you do this? Below are just a handful of ways you can show your support:

  • Engage with their social media posts
  • Buy from their company and give good reviews
  • Share the company with friends and family
  • Mentor female entrepreneurs

Backing these companies helps to create a strong, professional network and uplifts and empowers female business owners. It can also help them to become a female role model for others that are wanting to start their own company but are worried about barriers, discrimination, and stereotypes. The economy will also benefit from this.

Donating to a cause-based charity is additionally important because some women and girls have less access to education, reproductive rights and healthcare. This can hinder them in all aspects of life, giving them less of a chance to get a job or stay in one, become independent and impact their overall health and well-being. Helping these charities means more women and girls will have access to resources they currently don’t have access to. Some examples of women’s charities to donate to are RoSA who are focused on initiatives including sexual health services, domestic abuse services and educational resources, and The Circle which offers mentorship, fundraising, and educational/skill-building programmes.

You can find more charities to donate to for IWD here.

How to celebrate International Women’s Day as an employer

Employers getting involved in IWD is an excellent way to spread awareness across a large scale. A good place to start is by hosting a free learning session in the office/remotely for both men and women to inform employees about the history and the importance of the day and what they can do to celebrate. It is also a good opportunity to show the women in your company that they are appreciated and supported. If some/all of your employees are hybrid or remote, you can source a discussion video or ask people to share their experiences and record them to share or to share live on a video call. Another idea would be to find or come up with some Q&A questions to help better understand IWD and #InspireInclusion. Some examples are:

  • What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
  • What do you think some of the biggest challenges women face today?
  • Have you faced any challenges in your career because you’re a woman?
  • How can you change the future for young girls and women?
  • What ways can we, as a company, work to help support our female colleagues?
  • What’s a cultural change you’d like to see in the office?

Alternatively, you could do a more informal catch up, whether it’s in the office or virtually, where you discuss thoughts and experiences if discrimination or overcoming biases, self-care, work-life balance, or any other topics surrounding gender equality. If you are in the office, an afternoon tea where either the employer or employees each bring food so you can sit together and discuss these subjects in a relaxed and fun way. As the colour of IWD is purple, due to it symbolizing justice, dignity and being loyal to the cause, you could also ask staff to wear the colour to show solidarity and maybe even take a picture to upload to social media.

You can also fundraise for a cause-based charity, such as the ones previous mentioned (RoSA and The Circle).

Some fundraising ideas:

  • Host a raffle in the office where employees buy their tickets
  • Bake sale
  • Dress down day (if you’re usually in a uniform or smart clothes) and make donations
  • Matched giving – match any money raised through employee fundraising activities

If you have a company newsletter, having a section on IWD would be an effective way to get the word out to a large number of people. This might include celebrating women and their achievements (whether that’s women in the company or well-known names), letting people know how they can individually support the cause, statistics about gender inequality or what you are doing as a company to help women or promote the day. Lastly, using your social media platforms to post inspirational quotes from women, use IWD and equality hashtags, show how you support female employees or women in the community or share some employee experiences as women.

We hope you all enjoy International Women’s Day 2024, and don’t forget to support the cause throughout the year, not just today!

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