How to celebrate International Women’s Day

Anjuman Ali

Women around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day on Wednesday. In Russia, flower sales reportedly double as women are gifted blooms. In China, women get the day off work. And in Uganda, government agencies hold national celebrations for women.

In European and Latin American countries, March 8 has been a day to rally in support of gender equality and against violence toward women.

But in the United States, the day is treated much like any other. My friends and I don’t celebrate over brunches or give cards and flowers. In my experience, women in the United States are missing out.

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to revel in a day of sisterhood and bond with the important women in our lives.

When I’ve been in my home country of India on IWD, I have joined family and friends in making it a joyous and festive day.

One of my favorite memories is celebrating with the young daughters of my friends, who joined us at a lunch where we shared stories of what generations of women have achieved. We talked about everything from the right to vote to being heads of governments and being told how to think to becoming thought leaders.

My friends and I also mark the day by volunteering for nonprofits and contributing to charities that support women’s rights. We know that many women are struggling with issues of physical safety, insecurity over food and shelter, and lack of access to education and health care. There is still much to strive for to make girls and women feel safe and to realize their dreams.

The United Nations recognized the day for the first time in 1975. Several countries, including Cambodia, Guinea-Bissau and Ukraine, now celebrate IWD as a national holiday.

This year, the theme of IWD is #EmbraceEquity, and the aim is to work for “equitybased solutions” that “take into account the diverse lived experiences of individuals and communities, adapting services and policies according to these differences.”

Here are some ways to join the cause and mark this day:

Donate or volunteer: There are many community groups helping girls and women. Pick a cause, learn about it and support a group helping with it. Certain issues such as access to clean watersanitation and education disproportionately affect women.

Support global campaigns for gender equity: UN Women is one of many organizations that are championing women’s empowerment.

Celebrate!: You can join events that will be held in cities around the globe or create your own celebration.

Happy International Women’s Day!

(Source: The Washington Post)