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Great leaders create examples for others to follow. Over the past year, we’ve seen women like Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister, and Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, praised for their leadership on the COVID-19 response. Here in the United States, we witnessed Kamala Harris become the first women Vice President, and in Scotland they made menstrual products available for free.
However, these female advancements came during a pandemic that has shifted women’s participation in the labor force to a new, 33-year low. For team managers, supervisors, and business leaders this presents a unique, employee retention challenge.
On March 8, the world will celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s a day with rich history and symbols, marked by the tireless pursuit of equality and gender parity. This creates a great opportunity to recognize the women in your team and the work they’ve accomplished this past year.
Before we get into our list of how to celebrate international women's day in 2021, let’s take a quick step back.
It began in 1909 as National Women's Day, after the Socialist Party of America organized it as a commemoration of the infamous, 1908 women's movement strike of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union. It's focus on bringing awareness to working conditions soon earned it appeal at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, where 17 countries ratified it as a special day for women's parity worldwide.
Not long after, the day became synonymous with protesting World War 1. In fact, the Russian Revolution has its roots in International Women's Day. Women protested and striked for “Bread and Peace” and four days later it led to the overthrow of Czar Nicholas II and welcomed in women's suffrage.
International Women’s Day as we know it today formally started in 1977, when the United Nations invited member states to join in this global day celebrating. Since 2001, the holiday has built a brand for itself by engaging people with current themes (like this year’s #ChooseToChallenge), branded colors, and as of late, hashtags.
For remote teams to those still working from an office, there are many thoughtful and low cost ways to get your employees engaged and excited through team recognition. To get you started, here are our fun ideas to celebrate International Women’s Day:
Purple is the official International Women’s Day color. So why not embrace the theme and have everyone (yes, guys can join in too) show their support by wearing something purple? It’s an easy, effective, and free way to set the tone for the day throughout the office or virtual team meetings.
Remember that supervisors, team leaders, and managers can significantly affect employee morale with just this simple gesture as well. Don’t miss this opportunity to start the conversation around an inclusive company culture, equality in the workplace, and the associated benefits.
If you still have time to pick up some light decorations, like purple balloons or streamers, this is a surefire way to get people in the celebratory mood. Posters with International Women’s Day quotes are also great for inspiring employees. Below are a few of our favorite quotes:
Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception. Ruth Bader Ginsberg
There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish. Michelle Obama
Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women. Maya Angelou
When women are empowered, we can make an enormous impact on the world. Mandy Moore
Every woman's success should be an inspiration to another. We're strongest when we cheer each other on. Serena Williams
In the future there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders. Sheryl Sandberg
Share with your company’s followers the women in your life and team to highlight their contributions to your success. The official website recommends sharing posts with #ChooseToChallenge and #IWD2021 to join the conversation online. Because this year’s theme is all about choosing to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements, it’s encouraged that pictures feature people with one arm raised.
International Women’s Day gifts take many forms. They can be bulk employee gifts that you send out to the women in your team, or a donation to a charity in the name of the women in your company. However, there are also free ways to send something to coworkers. For example, a free, digital International Women's Day greeting card is an engaging way to interact with employees without going over budget.
Remember, helping your team understand what does international women's day mean and the positive culture shift it can bring begins with you. We hope our list helped you with your holiday planning and if you have questions on more ways to engage employees this International Women's Day, feel free to reach out to a member of our team.
From everyone here at SmartGift, we wish you all a happy women's day!