Ways to commemorate International Women’s Day

For Dining for Women, everyday is International Women’s Day so here’s a list of ideas to help you celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of women around the world throughout the month of March.

By Laura Haight
DFW Communications

Around the world, in gatherings, symposiums, conferences and DFW chapter meetings, International Women’s Day will be commemorated on March 8. This day recognizing the accomplishments, struggles and opportunities yet to be realized for women in the world has been celebrated in some fashion for a century; but this is the 40th anniversary of the UN’s designation of March 8 as the international awareness day for women.

Over the years, March has become known as International Women’s Month, giving us 30 days to celebrate, publicize, and educate our friends, our communities and the world.

We’ve come up with a list of ways you can keep IWD in the forefront all month long. Here goes:


1. Let’s start by getting inspired. Wake up on March 1 and listen to Maya Angelou read her phenomenal treatise, “Pheonomenal Woman”.  The giant of words and woman power makes us all feel strong, powerful and beautiful.

2. Come to our Google Hangout and learn about this month’s program – The Grandmother Project. Every month, we bring you together for a face to face discussion with the director of our featured program so you can learn more about how each organization works, the challenges they face and our contributions are making a difference. March 6, 2 p.m. ET, online.

3. Small investments can go a long way in the developing world. Author (and DFW Chapter Leader) Betsy Teutsch shares 100 successful, proven ways to fight poverty. 100 Under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women goes on sale March 6.

4. Girls are the future, whether here or around the world. Mentor a girl. There are lots of ways: donate your time with Big Sisters programs, help out with a literacy program, join the Women for Women International (our very first featured program!) Sponsor a Sister program. Lend a hand, make a difference.


5. Progress is being made in fighting violence against women in the form of trafficking and female genital mutilation. And we have Kakenya Ntaiya to thank for opening western eyes to the practice of FGM in the world. This CNN Hero will inspire you with her Ted Talk on how she traded submitting to FGM for the education that is helping her to change the world for millions of girls following her.

6. The future for women is in the hands of girls. If you’re on the West Coast, consider attending one of two screenings of the film “I Am A Girl.” In Santa Cruz, attend a screening on March 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets and theater information.  In Oakland, March 8 screening will be at 10:30 a.m.. Tickets and theater information. Take your daughter.

7. All around the world, there are efforts underway to fight violence against women, to change the dynamic globally and to punish those who perpetrate it. From child sex abuse to forced early marriage, to human trafficking, we are tracking international news developments. Violence against women from trafficking to FGM.


8. Got kids? How are you empowering them? Malala Yousafzai wasn’t born the icon she’s become. She grew that way from the circumstances she was forced to grow up in, the horror she had to endure and the love and support of her family.  Watch her father Ziauddin’s Ted Talk on the groundbreaking idea of just not “clipping their wings”.

9. Also for your kids, Malala’s book has been edited for a “youth” version.  Read it to your kids.  DFW Executive Director Beth Ellen Holimon is reading it to her two boys 6 and 9 years old.  Who’s in?

10. Wear purple! Proudly. Boldly. Purple is the color of gender equality internationally. Here’s why: From 1908, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in Great Britain adopted the colour scheme of purple, white and green to symbolise the plight of the Suffragettes. Purple symbolised justice and dignity – two values strongly associated with women’s equality. The three colours were used for banners, flags, rosettes and badges to show solidarity.

11. In conflict zones around the world, women and children disproportionately bear the burden of war. Find out more about how women are fighting back in this groundbreaking PBS series “Women, War and Peace.”  There’s a podcast series, a selection of documentary shorts, and links to more information on screenings and streaming.

12. Share why you care? Talk about International Women’s Day and why it matters. Post on social media and share posts of others. Spreading the word on days when the world’s attention is focused on us is critical. Don’t let the chance to reach someone pass you by.

13. Gender equality isn’t just a woman’s issue. It’s a human issue and around the world organizations like HeForShe.org are working to educate and mobilize the collective power of men’s voices in the fight for women’s equality. Educate your son, your husband, your boyfriend, your dad and get them to take the online pledge and take up the cause.

14. Find ways to make International Women’s Day your own. You can download videos, logos, posters and more to publicize on your blog or social media or at an event. Or find one to attend. No matter where you are in the world, you’ll find one to go to here:

15. Use your words: #MakeItHappen, the IWD 2015 hashtag is a call to action. Draw attention to it. Add purple to your social media profiles. Add the IWD logo to your profile, website or blog. Get it here.

16. What’s your favorite women’s nonprofit? We hope it’s Dining for Women, but whatever the cause that stirs your spirit, help them #makeithappen – make a donation or, better yet, give of your time and expertise to help them advance their goals. Want to do more with DFW? Let us know at volunteer@togetherwomenrise.org.

17. Use someone else’s words. No one ever went wrong quoting great people. Find a great quote in this compendium from 30 influential, ground-breaking women. One for every day – and a day of rest.

Gloria Steinem

18. Fight complacency. So many young women think gender equality is a done deal in the US. Before we can tackle issues throughout the world, we have to know where we stand here. Two great books tell a story that has significance today even though both are several decades old: Backlash (1991) by Susan Faludi; Moving Beyond Words (1994)  by Gloria Steinem. Share them with your daughter – or someone else’s.

19. It’s International Women’s Day every day at Dining for Women. Learn more about how you can join our journey to change the world for women and girls.

20. Speaking of your daughter, bring your girls to a Dining for Women meeting with you this month. For that matter, bring the boys too.

21. Join Oxfam America’s international effort to honor women who are making a difference in communities around the world. Share stories of women making a difference and become part of the Oxfam program to shine a light on the amazing ways women are changing their communities and our world.

22. Speaking of ideas worth spreading, listen to all four of the the Ted Talks that focus on the importance of educating girls. 

23. Contribute to the discussion. If you read something that trips your trigger, post a comment, share your views and ideas. So often we think important thoughts, but we keep them to ourselves. Be a content creator who helps influence the conversation about women in the world, not only a consumer.

24. Tell us how you are celebrating today – and every day! Use #DFW2015IWD on social media, post photos, videos, comments, articles on your own pages and we’ll find you!