Celebrate International Women’s Day

 AP Photo/Dan Peled

ASSOCIATED PRESS

AP Photo/Dan Peled

Tuesday, March 8th–to many of us–is just the last day to freak out before finals, but across the world, people are celebrating: March 8th is International Women’s Day.  According to their website, International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.

Higher Ground Academy teacher (and speech and debate coach at Apple Valley) Claire Sagstuen explains that “International Women’s Day is taken much more seriously in Europe…If the United States were to emphasize International Women’s Day more it would be a form of solidarity towards women’s rights.”

Around the world, many countries use International Women’s Day as an opportunity to continue promoting the message of women’s rights, but for others it’s just a time of relaxation. Russia, for example, proclaimed Women’s Day a national holiday. All businesses are closed and the kids have two days off school!

In India this year, the airline ‘Air India’ has decided to fly 20 all-women flights for free around the country. The women on these flights will be able to spread the message of gender equality nationwide.

AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar
AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar

Argentina uses the holiday as an opportunity to let women’s voices be heard on political issues like abortion and domestic violence. Women go into the streets en masse to protest.

AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko
AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

Given the political tensions in the Middle East, Iraqi women use IWD as a chance to let peace into their worlds. For years the women have taken in refugees living in Iraq to their homes for a day of unity and shared meals.

AP Photo/Ceerwan Aziz
AP Photo/Ceerwan Aziz

Claire Hoffa, in her article Women (Not) in Leadership, explains that the underrepresentation of women in positions of power “is indicative of an underlying problem that permeates throughout our society.” Holidays like International Women’s Day exist to bring more awareness to inequality.

Claire also writes that “although there is no quick and easy solution to this, by encouraging women to participate in things that interest them there will be less of a stigma… Allowing people to pursue their passions allows them the opportunity to enjoy the things they are passionate about.” And that is the first step for closing the inequality gap.  Step outside gender norms, do what you want! Don’t conform to what society says a girl or boy can do.  

International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.”

— International Women's Day website

This year’s theme for IWD is Pledge for Parity. Both men and women across the world can pledge to become leaders in the workplace or at school to help achieve equality. Steps you can take include helping the ambitions of women and girls or calling for more gender-equal leadership.

You don’t need to vote for Hillary or hate men to promote equality. If you’re asking yourself “what can I do to help right now?” Take the pledgesuccess and change don’t always need to be achieved through earth-shattering breakthroughs.  Sometimes all it takes is a simple pledge to do what you can.