Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Pledge to help women - including yourself!

It’s International Women’s Day! How will you celebrate? Women and girls who are inspired by today’s wonderful Google Doodle are encouraged to take to Twitter to share their own aspirations with the hashtag #OneDayIWill.

I’ve posted mine. #OneDayIWill set up and run an arts school to inspire a new art renaissance which will move us away from money and greed to love and peace. Why not dream big? Because that is my ultimate goal in life – well, to start an arts school which will be accessible to all anyway. So that’s mine. What’s yours?

I find this a very interesting question. Because many people don’t actually think about their ultimate goals in life. If you have no ultimate aim, you can’t take those hundreds of small steps towards realising it. I remember trudging through a snow-filled field with my sister-in-law last Christmas and she was moaning about what was going wrong in her life and her family relationships, etc, etc. And I said to her: ‘If you can take away all possible obstacles, what would be your ultimate goal? Where would you like to be in life and with who?’ And she was completely flummoxed because she had never even thought about it. But of course, most of the time our bigger goals are put on the back burner now we are no longer fighting for our rights as women.

So how did International Women’s Day (IWD) come about? It seems to have begun in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding voting rights, better pay and shorter working hours. A year later, the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the US on 28 February in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.

In 1910, a woman called Clara Zetkin – leader of the ‘women’s office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany – tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She suggested that every country should celebrate women on one day every year to push for their demands. A conference of more than 100 women from 17 countries agreed to her suggestion and IWD was formed. In 1911, it was celebrated for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland (even though Switzerland was one of the last countries in the world to allow women to vote. It wasn’t until 1971 when women could take part in elections at federal level)

In 1913, it was decided to transfer IWD to March 8, and it has been celebrated on that day ever since. The day was only recognised by the United Nations in 1975, but ever since it has created a theme each year for the celebration.

Today countries celebrate it in different ways. It is an official holiday in a number of places including: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. Other countries, such as Bosnia, celebrate it in a similar way to Mother’s Day with men presenting their wives, girlfriends, mothers and female  friends with flowers and gifts.

However, as we all know, the original aim of the day – to achieve full gender equality for women the world – has tragically still not been realised. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that of men. On IWD, women across the world come together to force the world to recognise these inequalities – whilst celebrating the achievements of women who have overcome these barriers.

There are many ways you can get involved in IWD:
  • Make a pledge for parity This involves going to the IWD website and pledging to help women and girls achieve their ambitions; call for gender-balanced leadership and create flexible cultures.
  • Reach out to any woman you know or see who has been done an injustice, however small.
  • Join in one of the many events happening around the world The IWD website shows where events are happening in countries and towns. For instance in London, there are a number of panels, luncheons, and even a football match between West Ham ladies and Tottenham Hotspur ladies.
  • Host your own event IWD encourages people to host a prominent speaker and create an event of their own.
  • Go to Southbank's Women of the World festival - which is launched today and celebrates IWD with a series of events until 13th
And of course, you can pledge to yourself to set your heart goal – I’ve told you mine, it’s now time to tell me yours...


  1. Your post is certainly more uplifting than mine ;-)
    Your SIL is an example of people who prefer to whine instead of taking matters into their hands, no offense.
    I like your goal, and I hope you'll achieve it!

  2. Ha, thanks Tamara! I think :)

  3. Will your arts school include crafts (yarny and other)? I'm in. ;-)

  4. Hi Robynn, yes of course, I hope for it to feature many crafts including pottery, knitting, needlework and costume design. I'll let you know when I get it off the ground :-D