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10 Ways of Celebrating International Women's Day At Work

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It is known that International Women’s Day is observed annually on March 8th. The day is named to celebrate and advocate women’s rights and equality globally. This day is seen as an opportunity to reflect on the changes and progress. It is also a time to celebrate courage and determination and acknowledge the roles of ordinary women in shaping the history of their countries and communities.

Continuing with the tradition all these years, this year’s celebration also has a theme. The theme of 2024 is ‘Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment’. The theme best aligns with the priority theme for the UN 68th Commission on the Status of Women, which examines the path to attaining economic inclusion for women and girls on a grand scale everywhere.

  • It accelerates the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls by recognizing and addressing their obstacles to progress, particularly poverty issues.
  • It calls for ensuring equal opportunity for women and girls by strengthening their capabilities to learn, earn, and lead.

With celebrations taking all over, let us see how you can celebrate a meaningful International Women’s Day at Work.

Understanding the Significance of International Women's Day at Work

As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as women see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we’ll all be better off for it.
– Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The origin of International Women’s Day is rooted in early 20th-century labor movements across North America and Europe. The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on February 28th, 1909, which the Socialist Party of America dedicated in honor of the 1908 garment workers’ strike.

Over 15,000 women marched in New York City against the harsh working conditions. Since then, International Women’s Day has become a global phenomenon celebrating women’s achievements and a medium for accelerating gender equality across all spheres.

International Women’s Day serves as a catalyst for positive changes in the workplace. It paves the way for ensuring gender equality in the workplace. It is important to understand how beneficial gender equality is in bringing tangible benefits to businesses and society. Let us explore them below:

  • Economic Growth

McKinsey Global Institute estimates that advancing gender equality in the workplace could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025.

Increased female participation helps boost consumer spending, talent pools, and overall economic productivity.

  • Enhanced Diversity and Innovation

Studies show that gender-diverse teams have the potential to outperform less diverse ones in problem-solving and decision-making. Also, diverse perspectives generate more creative solutions and help better understand customer needs.

  • Stronger Corporate Reputation

Consumers tend to support companies that are committed to diversity and inclusion increasingly. International Women’s Day highlights gender equality efforts, attracting top talent and boosting brand image.

Now, coming to the challenges faced by women in the workplace, there are plenty of instances and statistics that expose the existence of discrimination.

Despite progress, the challenges are as follows:

  • Gender pay Gap

Studies show women earn 16% less than men globally for similar work. This gap only widens with seniority and limits women’s financial security and career advancement opportunities.

  • Glass ceiling

Women are underrepresented in leadership positions. As per reports, in 2023, only 8.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs were women, showcasing the existence of barriers rising to the top.

  • Unconscious Bias

Gender stereotypes are prone to influencing hiring, promotion, and performance evaluations. They are unconsciously discouraged from pursuing leadership roles.

  • Work-life Balance

Women are often found taking the baggage of domestic responsibilities and childcare that limits their career choices and hinders their professional advancement. In extreme cases, they are even forced to renounce their careers.
These challenges require sincere attention from organizations in the form of proactive measures such as:

  • Implementing equal pay policies,
  • Promoting women to leadership positions,
  • Providing mentorship and development programs, and
  • Fostering a culture of respect and inclusivity.

Creative and Inclusive Celebration Ideas

You can make the International Women’s Day celebration meaningful at work in various ways. Let us explore some creative and inclusive ideas in the section below:

1. Ensure Equal Distribution of Salary

Ensure Equal Distribution of Salary

As per research, Women earn 82 cents for every dollar men earn, and this disparity only grows for women of color.

The widening salary disparity between men and women needs immediate attention and action. You can conduct a pay gap or pay equity analysis. This will help you identify and eliminate biases in any form. Also, consider introducing salary transparency. Introducing these steps will help you bring a change in the long run.

2. Support Working Mothers for Returning to Work

Support Working Mothers for Returning to Work

Providing generous maternity leave is indeed one generous approach for women, but that alone will not make them feel supported at work.

The survey of 848 mothers undertaken by Careers After Babies looked at what happened to their careers after having children. The survey focused on four areas – maternity leave, returning to work, career progression, and what women actually want. The responses of more than half of the women revealed that they would choose to return to work four days or more, given the option. Despite 98 percent of mothers wishing to return to work after having children, only 13 percent think it’s viable full-time. Of the 24 percent that tried resuming full-time, 79 percent left because they couldn’t maintain their full-time job while having a baby.

This statistic sheds light on the reality that women undergo once they embrace motherhood. However, corporations can bring about a change in the scenario with their intervention. You can extend your support to help them resume work. Take the initiative to create a supportive culture for working mothers in your company. For instance, you can design a suitable ramp-up plan for returning mothers, offer flexible working options, or build a community where mothers and caregivers can support one another.

3. Donate to a Charity

Donate to a Charity

Donating to a charity that works for underprivileged women is another great idea to celebrate Women's Day.

Doing in-depth research on the NGO you wish to donate to and understanding their contribution to the women's community is crucial before donating. Consider these criteria while choosing the right NGO:

  • Charities that work on empowering girls in developing countries through education and economic support.
  • NGOs that provide practical and emotional support to women affected by war and conflict.
  • Charities that work to advance sexual and reproductive rights and health for women and girls worldwide.

4. Support more Women-owned Businesses

Support more Women-owned Businesses

You can empower female-owned businesses by purchasing their products and services on International Women’s Day. This initiative will help contribute to providing equal economic opportunity and empowerment. Additionally, sharing the purchased products or services on social media will educate and influence others about female-owned businesses.

5. Employee Recognition

Employee Recognition

Every woman's success should be an inspiration to another. We're strongest when we cheer each other on.
– Serena Williams

The power of a ‘thank you’ is unfathomable. This appreciation becomes easier when you encourage using an employee recognition platform. This will help you recognize the efforts and accomplishments of your female employees. In addition, female co-workers can also send words of appreciation among themselves for their contributions.

6. Take the women employees for Lunch

Take the women employees for Lunch

Make your female employees feel special by taking them out for a special lunch. Allot a separate budget that allows you to spend with any restrictions.
Arrange some decorations at the restaurant, attuned to the theme of the celebration. Welcome them with flowers to make them feel special.

7. Create a Branded Photo Booth

Create a Branded Photo Booth

Create a photo booth for female employees by making a photo frame using cardboard, colors, stickers, and a corporate logo. You can set this photo booth up near the entrance and encourage every female employee to strike a pose and share it across social media handles with relevant hashtags.

8. Wear Purple

Purple color is associated with the theme of International Women’s Day. Hence, aligning with the color theme, you can ask your female employees to wear a purple outfit or use ribbons. Purple is a color symbolic of power, strength, dignity, and justice. It is just a simple gesture of advocating your support for the cause and the celebration.

9. Make a Creative Video

Why don’t you create a captivating video introducing your female employees and highlighting their diverse talents and contributions? Include their career journeys, impactful stories, and perspectives to celebrate their achievements. This will serve as a tribute to their efforts and accomplishments that foster inclusivity and empowerment in the workplace.

10. Mentorship and Networking Programs

Celebrate International Women's Day at work by organizing mentorship programs and networking events. Pair experienced leaders with those seeking guidance and host gatherings for women to connect and share experiences. Also, Invite guest speakers to inspire and provide practical advice. Offering skill-building workshops will empower women to accelerate their careers.

Global Perspective: Celebrating Women Around the World

Global Perspective- Celebrating Women Around the World

Women should be celebrated every day, but a month dedicated to female empowerment is extremely special. It doesn’t just honor the iconic women who have changed history, but encourages new generations to dream big and know that anything is possible.
– Molly McCook

International Women’s Day holds a global significance that transcends borders and unites people to celebrate the achievements of women and advocate for gender equality.

Originating from the labor and women’s rights movements in the early 20th century, women’s Day has evolved throughout the years to become a day of reflection, action, and solidarity globally.

On International Women’s Day, countries around the globe show enthusiasm in organizing various events, from rallies, marches, and conferences to cultural performances. This highlights the contributions of women and equally addresses issues like gender-based discrimination and violence.

This day serves as a platform for women from diverse backgrounds and cultures to amplify their voices and recognize their resilience, leadership, and impact on shaping societies.

IWD sparks various celebrations worldwide that reflect their local contexts and cultures. Here are some handpicked instances:

  • Italy: On March 8th, women are traditionally handed bunches of small yellow mimosas. These are the chosen symbols of female strength for International Women’s Day in Italy.
  • Romania: International Women’s Day is celebrated similar to Mother’s Day. It gives men a reason to celebrate their mothers, grandmothers, and friends by offering them cards and flowers.
  • Australia: Australians have celebrated International Women’s Day for decades, starting in the early 1970s. The day is marked with various panel discussions and events featuring prominent women in their fields.
  • USA: In the United States, there is no such public holiday for International Women’s Day, but the month of March is itself known as Women’s History Month. However, on March 8th, capital cities take the initiative to host rallies, conferences, and business events. They incorporate conversation and thought leadership around International Women’s Day.
  • Argentina: Since the 1900s, Argentinians have typically celebrated International Women’s Day by giving presents to the women in their lives. However, recent years have sparked protests, which have now become a regular feature. Citizens increasingly take to the streets to raise their voices against violence, the prevalent pay gap, equal representation in the arts, and other social changes.

Final Words

International Women’s Day serves as a reminder of the need to strive for gender equality in the workplace and beyond.

It must not be limited to a mere celebration; it is a call to action for creating an equal and inclusive world.

This article was co-authored by Riha Jaishi and Mrinmoy Rabha, who work as digital marketers at Vantage Circle. For any queries reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com.

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