It’s that time of year again – that spirited stretch where across the globe, governments, women’s groups, corporations, academic institutions, networks, media hubs and non-profits celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Celebrated with Women’s History Month throughout March and International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, this year’s IWD theme is #BalanceforBetter, a global initiative calling for gender parity in business, politics, media coverage and wealth.1 At the United Nations, IWD is focusing on innovative ways to promote women’s equality and empowerment in areas of social protection and access to public services, and this year’s mantra “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” is putting female thought leaders advocating for female rights at the epicenter of its efforts.3
Only 6 countries in the world grant women equal rights, and surprisingly, America isn’t one of them.2 In the United States, there are more than 12 million women-owned businesses, and over the past 20 years, that figure has more than doubled, as has their revenue.7 However, after reaching an all-time high with 32 female CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies in 2017, that number slid backwards to 24 in 2018, likely due to powerful women stepping down from their positions to retire, according to Fortune Magazine. So, how can we bring that number back up?6
As a small woman-owned business, facts like these hit straight to the heart of Everviolet. Alongside efforts to invigorate our growth, we simultaneously support other like-minded businesses and exhort more female entrepreneurs and leaders – more is definitely more in this arena! We believe in nurturing individual women, empowering our sisters to embody the courage, confidence and skillsets required to step out on their own in business or any other endeavor.8 And we also believe in fostering relationships with women-run businesses – educating ourselves and our community to become more aware of our shopping dollars and choosing to fuel female-founded ventures.5
Led by the Suffragettes, the first IWD was held in 1911, with the intent to collaborate and lead purposeful action to redress inequality in the hopes of a better future for communities, families and individuals. To this day, it is a powerful platform that globally unites and mobilizes nations around gender parity. Represented by the color white, the Suffragettes donned white dresses to generate photo coverage in daily publications, just as dozens of female lawmakers wore white to the State of the Union Address in early February of this year.
According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap isn’t set to close until 2186. So, with equality still 168 years away, we hope that the trajectory surrounding women's rights will only continue to climb.4 Our stance is that if we persist and continue to highlight injustices, all the while celebrating milestones already achieved by women thus far (including those of our fellow business mavens), we will overcome disparities and create a new herstory defined by equality, opportunity and celebration.
How can you take part in IWD?
If you’re looking for ways to take action or get involved with International Women’s Day, here are a few suggestions:
- Make a pledge for parity - Head over to the International Women’s Day website and pledge to help women and girls achieve their dreams, challenge bias, call for gender-balanced leadership and create flexible cultures.
- Participate in a local event - Look into what’s happening in your neighborhood (i.e. conferences, events, marches, talks and/or rallies) and see how you can take part.
- Host your own women’s gathering – Keep it intimate and host a women’s gathering at your home. Create an event where a leader/advocate of gender parity shares her personal experience to inspire and engage other women.
“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” - Maya Angelou