The United States celebrated the first National Woman’s Day on February 28, 1910 as a way to honor the garment workers’ strike, where women came together to protest their working conditions. In 1975, March 8th was officially named International Women’s Day by the United Nations, and throughout the last century, the movement for women’s equality has grown across different countries. Every year, we recognize the holiday to celebrate the many achievements of women around the world and commemorate the movement for women’s rights. From simply hugging the strong female figures in your life to marching for the acceleration of gender parity, there are countless ways to show your support for women on March 8th. Keep reading for 13 ways you can continue to advocate for women and their rights on campus.
- Attend a rally or march near you: Tons of events are held to celebrate International Women’s Day, so do your research to see if there are any near your campus. Can’t find one? Hold your own female-focused gathering.
- Start a feminist book club: One of the best ways to educate yourself and those around you is by learning about other people’s experiences. Read a book written by a woman or for women and sit down to discuss it with your friends.
- Join a group on campus: Many schools have organizations that have been created for people to come together, discuss gender inequality, and address issues on campus and in the community. Visit your university’s website or student involvement center to see what you can join or create at your school.
- Host a panel: Invite an expert or someone you admire to speak at your school. Whether they’re discussing women’s rights or providing insight on how to get ahead in your career, it’s a great way to start an important conversation, educate, and empower other women to pursue their goals.
- Encourage the women around you: Slip an encouraging note under your best friend’s door or thank your professor for their dedication to the education of women. A simple uplifting message might just be the motivation they need.
- Raise money for a cause: Find an organization that helps women in need and donate or raise money to help. Whether it’s one like Equality Now, which works to protect and promote the human rights of women and girls around the world, or Women for Women International, which helps women who have been affected by war or combat, your efforts will help make a difference in improving the lives of other women around the world.
- Distribute voter registration materials: Set up a booth in a populated spot on campus and take the lead in getting your community registered. Remember to educate interested students on policies that affect women and how their vote can enact a positive change.
- Call your senators: Book an empty classroom and station a phone-a-thon to let your representatives know what legislations you support or oppose. You really can make a difference in laws by voicing your concerns about issues that affect women.
- Support female artists: Encourage your friends to wear clothing created by feminist or female-led brands, set up a table on campus to help female artists sell their work, or attend an art gallery featuring women’s artwork. Take the time to appreciate the beautiful things that women have created that make the world a better place.
- Host a dinner: Invite your friends to spend the evening discussing women’s rights. At the end of the night, set concrete goals on how you’re going to help accelerate gender equality on your campus.
- Wear red: Red is the official color of International Women’s Day, so show your support by wearing it head to toe all day long. Encourage others to do so as well.
- Celebrate yourself: We’re all doing the best we can, so take a little breather and practice some self-care. Make a gratitude list, do a nice face mask—anything that will help you relax and realize you’re a powerful and intelligent woman.
- Take the time to listen to other women: Whether you invite your classmates out for coffee or host a discussion group with your peers, take the time to hear the experiences of other women who are different from you and what feminism means to them. It’s important to recognize that feminism means equality for all women—regardless of race, gender, class or sexual orientation—so make sure you take time out of your day to learn how you can accelerate the path toward equality for everyone.
How are you celebrating International Women’s Day? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured photo by @isa.bella.ricci.