Ladies First: Celebrate International Women’s Day

Ladies First: Celebrate International Women’s Day

Progress only happens when everyone is included. That especially becomes clear when you consider the profound contributions women have made to society — including to the environmental movement. After all, we all share this planet — and have a common stake in its future — so it’s fitting that on March 8, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Inspire inclusion.”

At SaltyLama, we’ve been proud to spotlight a few of the empowered women who have led the fight for conservation. Whether it’s combating plastic pollution or helping to protect the world’s wetlands, what better time to get involved? Even small changes in your own lifestyle can make a difference. Simply swapping out regular laundry detergents for an eco-friendly, plant-based alternative can help reduce plastic waste, cut the amount of chemicals being flushed into waterways, and limit the toxins your own family is exposed to.

International Women’s Day (IWD) became an official holiday by the United Nations in 1975. Since then, the day has become a day of celebration, protest, and liberation for women around the globe. IWD commemorates women’s efforts and achievements, while also highlighting inequalities many still experience. If you want to get involved during International Women’s Day 2024, here’s what you need to know. 

The history of International Women's Day 

The origins of International Women's Day can be traced to the early 20th century when women around the world began advocating for equal rights. The first National Women's Day was celebrated in the U.S. on February 28, 1909, in honor of a garment workers’ strike in New York City. 

Inspired by this event, activists across Europe initiated International Women’s Day in 1911 to demand better working conditions, suffrage rights, and an end to discrimination. However, it wasn’t until 64 years later that International Women’s Day would become an internationally recognized holiday. 

Why celebrate International Women’s Day March 8 

Not only is it a way to stand up for and beside women of all backgrounds, but the day also holds great importance as a global platform for raising awareness about gender equality, women's rights, and the empowerment of women and girls. It’s a day that drives positive change, challenges stereotypes, and promotes inclusivity in all areas of society, including politics, education, healthcare, and the workplace. 

By celebrating the achievements of women and highlighting the ongoing struggles for gender equality and rights, International Women's Day inspires people and communities to take action and advocate for a more equitable world. 

How to get involved 

There are many ways to participate in International Women's Day and show your support for gender equality. Here are just a few way to take part in 2024: 

Attend events: Join local marches, rallies, panel discussions, and cultural events organized to celebrate International Women's Day in your community. Check out this list of events on the IWD website to get started. 

Volunteer locally: Seek out events or areas in your community that need your help. These might be things like local marches, women’s shelters, food pantries, and youth clubs for girls. 

Advocate: Use your voice to raise awareness about gender equality issues and advocate for policy changes that promote women's rights. Follow relevant accounts on social media and re-share their posts to help spread the word. 

Wear purple: One of the easiest ways to show your support on March 8 is to wear purple, the official color of International Women’s Day. Many organizations will also give out buttons and ribbons to help show your support even further. 

Celebrate women: Recognize and celebrate the achievements of women in your life and community. Show appreciation for their contributions and support their goals and aspirations. 

Inspiring women, both past and present

And in the midst of celebrating women and their achievements, here are some facts about women from history. Let these women inspire you or encourage you to help spread the word on women’s empowerment, successes, and challenges. 

  • Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and remains the only person to win Nobel Prizes in two different scientific fields: Physics and Chemistry.
  • Rosa Parks, often referred to as the "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement," sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger.
  • Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education, became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate at the age of 17 for her advocacy of education rights for girls in Pakistan.
  • Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and set numerous aviation records during her career as a pilot.
  • Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician and writer, is considered the world’s first computer programmer for her work on Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine in the 19th century.
  • Emma Watson, best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series, is also a prominent advocate for gender equality. She serves as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and launched the “HeForShe” campaign, encouraging men to support women’s rights.
  • Serena Williams, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most of any player in the Open Era. Beyond her athletic achievements, she’s an advocate for gender equality and has spoken out against racism and sexism in sports.
  • Sylvia Earle is a renowned American oceanographer, marine biologist, and explorer who set the record for the deepest solo dive without a tether, descending 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) in 1979. She also founded Mission Blue, an organization dedicated to exploring and protecting marine biodiversity. 

International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the achievements of women, recognize their contributions to society, and reaffirm our commitment to achieving gender equality worldwide. Let’s all continue to build a future where every woman and girl can thrive.  

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