For a woman in leadership, International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 is a day that belongs to you. It is a day to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished.
It’s also a day to reflect on how far women have achieved in the workplace, but also how much there is still to be done to achieve gender equality.
A gender-balanced workplace
The theme of this year’s IWD celebration is “Balance for Better,” calling for a gender-balanced world. To help launch the effort, IWD is asking women to post on social media for a strong call-to-action to help forge a #balanceforbetter.
How will you be celebrating? There are various events planned for women in leadership, many of which have options for you to participate in even if you can’t attend in person:
- Take leadership lessons from the best. There will be lots of public celebrations, like the International Women’s Day Forum in Washington, DC on March 6-7 featuring dozens of women executives, including Small Business Administration’s administrator Linda McMahon, Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar and WEConnect International CEO Elizabeth Vazquez. Can’t get to DC? Career Catalyst is hosting a Webinar: International Women’s Day on March 7, which will highlight the steps you and your company can take to create a more inclusive workplace.
- Raise the profile of women in leadership. Some companies are taking a pause to celebrate their women employees. For example, accounting firm Geffen Mesher in Portland, OR is hosting a series of events, spearheaded by its Women’s Leadership Initiative, to build awareness on gender-specific challenges and issues – especially within the context of a male-dominated industry like accounting. Estee Lauder, Nordstrom, UGG and Williams Sonoma have launched a “This Is A Leader” campaign to celebrate IWD and raise the profile of women leaders across supply chains, who are often overlooked. Leaders from these companies will speak at an event in New York City to discuss women’s leadership.
- Promote pay equity. Efforts to close the pay gap often start with a pay audit. This can help a company to better understand the pay issue, where they exist and why they exist. Learn more on March 8, when women’s empowerment organization WomenWerk convenes a panel of experts, including EEOC commissioner Charlotte Burrows and Ellevate Network CEO Kristy Wallace, in Austin, Texas to discuss “Danger in Silence; #TimesUp for Pay Inequity.” For those who cannot attend, Ellevate Network will release a White Paper full of practical solutions for the workplace.
- Watch women empowering women. On TV, tune in to VHI Trailblazer Honors, a one-hour special airing on March 8 in celebration of International Women’s Day. The show honors Speaker Nancy Pelosi (with Cher presenting to her), #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke, Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood and Selma director Ava DuVernay.
- Tap into women leaders. Throughout March, Apple will feature an app founded or led by a woman (such as TheSkimm, Bumble and Stitch Fix), as part of IWD. The “App of the Day” will feature female entrepreneurs and engineers. Plus certain Apple stores in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles will host a “Made by Women” series, which will include hands-on discussions and labs designed to unlock creativity and take passions to the next level.
- Share best practices. Companies can share their actions and events (and photos) in the International Women’s Day: Best Practice Competition, which will be used to inspire others throughout the year. For instance, last year, Siegel+Gale invited female executives for a panel that shared advice on how females can advance in the workplace. GTB recognized women who had made significant contributions to the advertising agency with its “WINning Women Awards.” Deadline for entries: April 30.
- Keep the dialogue going. If you’re in a position to influence your employer, urge those at the top to hire more women and promote more women to leadership roles. Take a closer look at your company’s policies. Call out bias when you see it. Nurture or mentor other female talent.
Some companies are further along on their journey of gender equality, putting programs and policies in place to help female employees. International Women’s Day is the perfect time to ask yourself “What has my company done to reach gender equality?” and “What can I do to hasten the journey?”
We’d love to hear from you. Please email to share your own IWD thoughts and actions.