International Women’s Day

Thursday is International Women’s Day. It’s been a long and weary road for women, and these past six months have been no exception. And that is why, for me, IWD feels so much more important. 

This year, IWB is focusing on gender parity. Gender parity is a huge issue. With many contributing factors, all complex and deeply normalized. The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report found that gender parity is over 200 years away. But with global activism for women’s issues fueled by #MeToo and #TimesUp, the global movement is striving to close that gap. And maybe, with enough momentum and action, we just might. 

Watching the news can be a discouraging venture. Seeing the state of American politics, the dramatic differences in viewpoints and life value, how truly deep the divide is, and seeing that this is far from just an America problem, but in fact it is a global problem. At times I know I feel like no real progress will happen. But I know I can’t be complacent. No real change was ever easy. 

#PressforProgress
This year, IWD campaign theme is #PressforProgress. “Individually, we’re one drop but together we’re an ocean. Commit to a ‘gender parity mindset’ via progressive action”. They ask for you to choose your action, and give some suggestions on ways you can do so. 

Here are ways that IWD suggests we #PressforProgress:

Maintain a Gender Parity Mindset.
-Question any lack of women’s participation.
-Identify alternatives that are more inclusive.
-Nominate women for opportunities.
-Always include and support women.
-Think “50/50” as the goal.

Challenge Stereotypes and Bias.
-Question assumptions about women.
-Challenge statements that limit women.
-Always use inclusive language.
-Work to remove barriers to women’s progress.
-Buy from retailers who position women in positive ways.

Forge Positive Visibility of Women.
-Identify ways to make women more visible.
-Extend opportunities to women first.
-Assume women want opportunities until declined.
-Select women as spokespeople and leaders.
-Support visible women. 

Influence Others’ Beliefs/Actions.
-Supportively call-out inappropriate behavior.
-Campaign for equality in meaningful ways.
-Lead by example via inclusive actions.
-Be a role model for equality.
-Actively contribute to changing the status quo. 

Celebrate Women’s Achievements.
-Believe achievement comes in many forms.
-Value women’s individual and collective success.
-Ensure credit is given for women’s contributions.
-Celebrate women role models and their journeys.
-Support awards showcasing women’s success. 

For me, this blog has been a big part of turning my passion and my pain into action. It’s been the start. Finding my voice, sharing my thoughts. And sticking with the weekly post feels like a significant accomplishment, thought it may seem trivial at times. But I want to do more. 

For IWD, this is what I pledge:
-Acknowledge and celebrate my female coworkers accomplishments.
-Reference their suggestions and ideas, and vocalize support intentionally.
-Challenge sexist statements in the moment.
-Build a space that supports the women in my life.
-Find an active way to participate in the progress of women. 

I want to challenge myself, most importantly, to be supportive of the women in my life. Start with my inner circle, my day to day. And like any good goal, I want to keep this attainable. Find small changes that will grow into large impacts within my community. 

Now what can you to help progress women in the future? How can you take action, now, today, to help the disparity of the gender gap? What can you do in your work place to make the environment more female progressive? How can you support the women in your life with their goals and projects? 

International Women’s Day is just that, a day. It’s not even a holiday. But the problems facing women are constant, and it’s a long road to change. IWD is a time to be intentional about focusing on women’s issues, and this year we focus on the gender parity. It’s not just a day for saying nice things, it’s a day for planning. So let’s take actions together to progress this issue forward in 2018! 

-Darci 

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