Happy International Women’s Day! Today, we have a conversation. Today, we talk feminism. Today, we work toward closing the pay equity gap. Today, we share personal anecdotes and find out where those systemic barriers are. Today, we play football in whatever the heck we want to wear.
Today, we celebrate women and every facet of this glorious gender.
Here are a few out-of-the-box ways to celebrate International Women’s Day this March 8.
- Get On a Male-Dominated Field Wearing All Pink
Women have legs for running, arms for catching and throwing, and mouths for talking (friendly) trash at the other team. Use them this International Women’s Day! Get a pick-up game of Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, Football, Frisbee, Ping Pong, or a really rousing game of chess going at a local park. Go hard in all pink (or purple or green or whatever color you darn well feel like wearing). Wear makeup or do your hair or don’t. Celebrate your ability and right to play.
- Play Bechdel Bingo
The Bechdel Test was created in 1985 to assess the accurate portrayal of women as human beings, rather than objects, in film. The short version is that every film should have two or more women in speaking roles, where two or more women speak to each other, and at some point need to be speaking to each other about something other than men.
Simple. Easy. Surely every film passes this test. You’d be shocked. Get a bunch of your friends together and watch your favorite movie or a new movie you’ve been dying for an excuse to watch. Make popcorn or cookies or order pizza (food is important) and start calling out Hollywood for every time the movie fails the test. No women for the last 20 minutes? Are they talking about men again? Did anyone identifying as a woman speak in the last four scenes?
- Talk About The Greats
Who inspires you? Who inspires your colleagues? Who inspires your friends and family? Have an honest discussion about celebrities, fictional characters, writers, leaders, innovators, tech giants, scientists, and people in your lives who inspire you on the daily. Even if they’re men. If you find that most of your icons are men, talk about why. Are they making more strides in an industry, because there are more opportunities there? Do those men have more visibility in the media than women of similar expertise and credibility?
(A twist on this might be to look at the races, sexual orientations, and nationalities of your heroes. Talk about the whys and hows of who you and your networks look up to and start questioning why.)
- Get Crafty
After having a chat about the women who have influenced you on a personal level, make them something. I know it sounds cheesy, but if your mother has demonstrated a brilliant balancing of domesticity and owning in the workplace, spend an hour making her a card or writing a letter or putting together a collage of all the great stuff she’s done. Today is about celebrating women as much as it’s about acknowledging barriers.
And if it’s not your mom, send something you’ve made to a teacher, a friend, a mentor, or even a community leader that has really affected you. It’s so important to empower women who are working really hard (sometimes without realizing it) to make the world better for all of us.
- Rock Out
I’m a huge Hozier, Bastille, and Death Cab for Cutie fan. There, I said it. However, I’m also a massive Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Florence and the Machine, and Jasmine Thompson fan. So usually, I’ve got a playlist running that has a happy mix of genders going on. Just for one day, change it up. Put together a playlist exclusively of women. Go back into the archives and pull out some Spice Girls and TLC and then go back further and bring out some Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald. Spend a day listening to women’s stories. You’ll be surprised how it affects your walk to work (swag).
Visit www.internationalwomensday.com. You can sign the #pledgeforparity to turn that talk into walk by making real concrete strides toward decreasing the pay equity gap on an international scale.
- Write a List
What matters to you? Career? Financial freedom? Relationships? The next generation? Scientific innovation? Education? Get specific with your personal goals. The bottom line is that large-scale systemic change is important. Listening to women’s stories from all cultural backgrounds and within every class level is important. But what matters to you is important, too. Write down your goals this year and start looking at what obstacles are in your way. The number one way for women to start being seen as multi-faceted, equal human beings is to achieve in your field, your way. Wide-scale success starts small. It starts with you.
- Hang Out With A Youngster
Take someone in the girl or woman in the age bracket below you to the park, to a coffeeshop, to a pub, or on a long walk and ask them what they worry about. Ask them what they want to be, what challenges they face in being taken seriously. Women need other women. We need to start understanding that we are not each other’s competition; we are each other’s best chance at getting a fair shot at this. You don’t need to be a formal mentor. Listen to what the next generation is coping with. And trust that your own experiences will be a guiding light.
- Hang Out With A Wise Woman
Call up a woman in your field or community or sphere that you admire. Ask questions about their struggles. Women so often brush off their own achievements. Let a pioneer know that you want to learn from them, want to celebrate their strides. And don’t just humor them. Internalize these stories. You’ll be a better feminist for it.
- Hang Out With A Dude
International Women’s Day is about bolstering women’s success. However, that doesn’t happen with women alone. Talk to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to about gender equity, about feminism, about the female experience. Don’t railroad them. Talk about how gender parity positively affects them. Discuss their female role models. Genderbend a bit and ask them if they’ve every felt like they were expected to do something just because they identified as a male. Watch an Aziz Ansari special with them. Whatever it takes. Keep the focus on opening the door to this kind of conversation in the future. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
However you celebrate, enjoy the heck out of International Women’s Day this year. Tell your stories, listen to others, and stay informed.