Today is International Women’s Day (IWD). Celebrated on March 8 of every year, IWD celebrates women around the world and their achievements. IWD has been observed since the early 1900s and the International Women’s Day website documents the evolution of this global celebration. At a time when there are many places and situations where women's rights, equality, health, and safety remain marginalized, IWD is also a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
The IWD theme for 2017 is Be Bold for Change (#BeBoldForChange). Each of us can take actions to support this global theme by challenging bias and inequality, championing women’s advancement, and celebrating their accomplishments. Within the philanthropic sector, many will contribute greatly by their work in support of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal four (“ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”) and goal five (“achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”).
Today is a day to celebrate all women. We celebrate the women of color on whose shoulders many of us stand today. We celebrate the women breaking through glass ceilings within the business and political arenas. We celebrate the transgender women leading movements for social justice and gender equality. We celebrate the women who became the “firsts” in their respective efforts – the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court, the first woman to compete in the Olympics, the first women to be civilly wed. We celebrate the women serving in the military as well as the women caring for those who are injured. We celebrate the girls who have to fight for the right to an education and the women educators who are helping to shape the next generation of leaders.
At the same time, we also acknowledge that the journey to gender equality remains long. To that end, the Council supports A Day Without a Woman (#DayWithoutAWoman), a global effort designed to highlight the economic power and significance that women have while calling attention to the injustices women and gender nonconforming people continue to face. Today, we wear red in solidarity with A Day Without a Woman. The color was chosen to signify revolutionary love and sacrifice – a pioneering spirit promoting ambition and determination.
It is a fitting tribute for the revolutionary, energetic, and pioneering women in our lives. Today, we champion gender equality and the rights of girls and women around the world. Today, we honor the many women serving within the private and philanthropic sectors and we acknowledge their leadership.
Tomorrow and each day after, let us continue to do the same.