Across the globe, March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day. This celebration of women can serve as a great reminder to appreciate the women in your life and all they have done for you. However, International Women’s Day is not just about appreciating what women have done. It is, and always has been, a day for women to come together to make life better for one another.
This sense of solidarity and need for change is what inspired the first Women’s Day. It began in 1908 with suffragettes marching on the streets of New York City, protesting for equal rights, and the following year, National Women’s Day was declared in the United States. It gained international recognition in 1910, with women from over seventeen countries agreeing to observe a day to emphasize the fight for equal rights. In 1975, March 8 was officially designated by The United Nations as International Women’s Day. Organizers have selected yearly themes since 1996, ranging from ending hunger for rural women to ending violence against women.
The theme for 2017 is about making a change in the world. This year’s slogan, “Be Bold for Change,” encourages us to do something in the name of women around the world—especially something we might not usually do. The International Women’s Day website suggests actions such as calling out instances when women are excluded, reinforcing and supporting women’s triumphs, and encouraging women to further their education.
At Women At Risk, International, we are working to support and empower women every day of the year. Our partnering safehouses, both international and here in the United States, rescue and restore at-risk and wounded women by giving them a safe place to heal while providing counseling, education, and skill training. Our vocational training and microenterprise partners give at-risk women the opportunity to make their own living, empowering them to safely support themselves and avoid exploitation. Educational and outreach programs in the United States and abroad give women who want to better their situation the power to do so.
This March 8, consider what you can do to help women around the world. Find a way to be bold for change—perhaps through supporting or volunteering with WAR, Int’l. We wish all women around the world a very happy International Women’s Day!