They say March comes in like a lion. Perhaps that’s why March is Women’s History Month – a month dedicated to hearing women roar.
Ok, that analogy might be a little cheesy, but you have to admit the idea behind it is sound. Women are a force to reckon with, and March offers an entire month devoted to our stories. We have every excuse – even more so than any other point in the year – to shout out each other’s accomplishments and recognize where we need more support this month. This is especially true on March 8: International Women's Day.
While we believe women should be celebrated and revered every day, we appreciate any opportunity to remind you how strong and capable you are, mama! So let’s take a look at this year’s International Women's Day theme and how you can both celebrate women and encourage your children to be more open and accepting of others.
First, a quick history of International Women's Day
Every year since 1911, people around the world have celebrated International Women's Day to promote “the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.” The inaugural event saw more than a million women and men throughout Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland participating in rallies. To this day, it is seen as an opportunity to mark “a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.” It’s part social activism on behalf of women everywhere, part widespread recognition of the amazing contributions women make to society.
The movement gained renewed momentum in 2001 with a new International Women's Day website and organized, cohesive planning. Since then, each International Women’s Day has featured a unique campaign and theme to maintain energy around and promote visibility of women’s achievements. All themes generally relate back to the purpose of the day, but the campaign emphasizes the ongoing efforts of International Women’s Day events year over year.
This year’s theme is “Break the Bias.”
Break the Bias: fighting for inclusivity and gender equality
The 2022 theme – tracked across social media platforms through the hashtag #BreakTheBias – is a call for gender equality and a world that is, “free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination,” that is “diverse, equitable, and inclusive,” and “where difference is valued and celebrated.” The campaign urges all of us to take charge of our own thoughts and actions and to break biases within our communities, workplaces, and schools.
The importance of this year’s theme is amplified by how well it parallels one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (goal number five of 17). The UN contends that not only is gender equality a “fundamental human right,” but also “a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.” While there has been notable progress over the last few decades, the goal of gender equality remains largely “unfulfilled” across the globe.
Where the Break the Bias theme differs from the UN goal, though, is in taking equality a step further by emphasizing overall inclusivity and encouraging individuals to take personal ownership and accountability of the biases we all hold. Global gender equality is a mammoth undertaking. Confronting our individual prejudices and predispositions is something we can each do (and not just one day a year).
To keep the theme focused and actionable, the International Women’s Day website looks to a few targeted missions to “help forge women’s equality – sooner and faster” while drilling down to specific areas in which biases tend to occur.
These missions involve breaking biases when it comes to:
- Women in Technology
- Women at Work
- Women Forging Change
- Women’s Health
- Women Creatives
- Women’s Empowerment
- Women in Sport
The missions are intended to raise awareness of and take a stance against gender inequality in each included area, to acknowledge where progress is being made, and to celebrate women’s accomplishments within each mission.
Ultimately, the Break the Bias theme aims at encouraging a more inclusive world.
How to celebrate International Women's Day – and women in general
The International Women’s Day website offers numerous resources for planning events and participating in this year’s Break the Bias theme. You can plan an event, watch videos, access resources for children, participate via social media, and more. But the core of International Women’s Day is much deeper than these activities.
As mothers, our contribution to International Women's Day begins at home. Whether we’re raising headstrong girls or compassionate boys, we have significant influence over our little ones’ views of the world we brought them into. We can help shape their perspectives around the importance of diversity, inclusion, openness, and cooperation. We can encourage them to appreciate differences and recognize when they may be acting unfairly.
By raising our children to respect and admire not only women, but anyone who might be different in some way, we can help fight harmful biases in our communities. By having ongoing conversations with our children about their natural preferences and tendencies, we can teach them about bias and how to work through unfair thoughts. By exposing our children to a variety of people and perspectives, we can broaden their worldview and encourage open-mindedness.
Beyond what we can teach our children, we can celebrate each other as mothers and women on March 8 and every day by:
- Offering each other words of encouragement and support
- Sharing appreciation for a unique perspective, useful advice, or help offered
- Recognizing each other’s contributions in a situation and acknowledging how our differences improved the outcome
- Taking time to get to know and understand each other
- Celebrating each other’s achievements
- Amplifying each other’s voices and helping share differing points of view
- Understanding that everyone experiences life differently and that our own ideas may not be the same as someone else’s
International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to highlight the contributions of women and remember the importance of lifting each other up, but it’s something we can and should do every day. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate gesture; just supporting each other when we have the chance can go a long way. We’re all in this together, mamas!
International Women’s Day: History of International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day: International Women's Day
International Women’s Day: IWD 2022 campaign theme: #BreakTheBias
United Nations: Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
United Nations: Gender Equality: Why It Matters
International Women’s Day: Help forge the IWD Missions
International Women’s Day: Need help planning International Women's Day activity?