Of all the special days of the year, International Women’s Day, celebrated annually on March 8, is one of the most important. This is a global day that involves celebrating achievements made by women all over the world, both in the past and present.
It also involves taking a stand against sexism. It is special because it not only raises awareness for girls and women, but it also emphasizes that they are just as capable as their male counterparts.
International Women’s Day stems from National Women’s Suffrage Association, founded in 1869 by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to stand up for women’s rights. A Women’s Day celebration was proposed in 1911, but it wasn’t until 1965 that all women were granted the right to vote.
Nowadays, people all over the world celebrate International Women’s Day with the hope that they can create a society where people – girls and women included – can come together as one. This year’s theme, according to the United Nations, is ensuring women have as much access to the Internet as men.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
International Women’s Day is important because, as Hillary Clinton’s famous speech put it, “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.” In other words, girls and women are meant to be treated the same way as everybody else.
Unfortunately, women are still dealing with sexism and people are still struggling to build an equal community for every gender. But these days, people are raising awareness for women’s rights. There are many fearless females in the modern age like Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, former First Lady Michelle Obama, environmental activist Greta Thunberg, and Nigerian former Minister of Education Obiageli Ezekwesili, among others.
Although we still have a long way to go, women’s rights – and International Women’s Day – is a major part of how we are moving forward as a people. I have a lot of strong women in my life, and I’m a feminist. Seeing a multitude of women stand up for themselves and inspire people has driven me to raise gender awareness and add fearless females to my storytelling. Needless to say, International Women’s Day is a celebration each and every one of us needs.
There are many women leaders at the 14Y, so I wanted to get their thoughts on what it means to be a leader and how they work to inspire others.
Volunteer and Civic Engagement Coordinator at Sirovich Center for Balanced Living M. Clayton told me, “All the women in Sirovich are very inspiring, and I find the women at the 14Y to be amazing. I am always inspired by the women I work with.”
Julie Gayer Kris is the Senior Director of Community Wellness at the 14Y. A former dancer, Julie is inspired by leaders in the dance world, as well as her 14Y colleagues. “I am a big fan of collaborative leadership, and I like to listen to all the input that others share and make decisions with everyone’s voice included in the process,” she said. “I encourage folks I work with to share their authentic selves and to speak up and share their own creative thoughts.”
Senior Director of Marketing, Communications, and Relationships at the 14Y Jaci Hirschfeld told me, “I’ve worked at the 14Y for almost 6 years, and it’s been an amazing journey so far. During that time, I’ve grown into my current role and don’t take being a leader lightly. I’m fortunate to work alongside an amazing team of female leads, and together we aim to cultivate a great work environment and the next generation of leaders—whatever gender they may identify as!”
Jaci also left me with a great reminder, that every woman can inspire, whether they’re an official “leader” or not.
How do women inspire you?