This Is How You Can Turn International Women's Day Into A Demonstration For Equality

by Hannah Golden
Ethan Miller/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Women and their supporters will be taking action all across the globe on Thursday, March 8 in honor of International Women's Day (IWD). While 2017 saw a lot of protest on International Women's Day, 2018 will look a bit different. There's still lots going on this year, though, from demonstrations to celebrations.

IWD was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1975, per the IWD official site, but the day has roots dating back farther than that. In 1848, according to the UN Women, women held the first women's rights convention in America, sparking a movement. The 1908 demonstrations for labor rights by women in New York also helped plant the seeds of the first official IWD, held in 1911 in four European countries, according to the IWD site. Several other movements for women's rights across the world ensued over the next several decades.

Since it became official, the day has been used to both honor the progress and achievements made towards women's equality in society and recognize the progress yet to go. As such, events around the holiday range from all-out protests to all-out parties, and everything in between. So no matter what kind of experience you're looking for, you're sure to find something happening this Thursday.

Events of all kinds will take place this year, from in-person to virtual. If you're in Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., London, or Melbourne, you can take advantage of the major events taking place there on March 8. The IWD site also has a database of all registered events taking place around the world, so you can find one that works for you.

Even if you'll be unable to attend any in-person events, you can still tap into the larger global community to show your support and solidarity. The IWD site is hosting an official Twitter Thunder Clap on March at 8 a.m. ET. In addition to registering, they're asking participants share a specific message at the time, which you can find here.

Last year, Women's March organizers honored the holiday, on the heels of the Women's March on Washington, with A Day Without A Woman protest. The protest called on women to participate in any many ways as they could: by walking out of their jobs to show how the important of their presence and contributions in the work force; by avoiding shopping to show how their financial power impacts the market; and by wearing the color red to show solidarity.

This year, the Women's March organizers are asking supporters to again wear red to show their solidarity with women worldwide. In addition, they're calling on participants to post photos of themselves wearing red on social media using the #WomenPowerToThePolls hashtag, and if they're eligible to vote, to ensure that they're registered.

As for UN Women, the organization has stated its theme this year for IWD is "Time Is Now," focusing on progress for urban and rural women worldwide. They'll be hosting an event at the UN headquarters in New York.

The IWD site, for their part, has listed its 2018 theme as #PressForProgress, based around the findings of the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap report. First published in 2006, the WEF's gender gap report shows how far women have to go to achieve parity with their male counterparts in 144 countries over four categories: health, education, political power, and economic opportunity. The 2017 report shows that the time it'll take for women globally to reach the level of men in all categories has actually gotten longer, thanks to financial disparity.

"This report finds that, globally, gender parity is shifting into reverse this year for the first time since the World Economic Forum started measuring it," wrote WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab in the report's preface.

"On current trends, the overall global gender gap can be closed in exactly 100 years across the 106 countries covered since the inception of the Report, compared to 83 years last year," the WEF report states. "Given the continued widening of the economic gender gap, it will now not be closed for another 217 years." (For the record: the U.S. was ranked 49th.)

These findings are what inspired this year's theme, per a statement on the IWD site. "And with global activism for women's equality fueled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp, and more - there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity."

So while there's no singular protest, there are lots of ways to demonstrate your solidarity and support for women around the globe. And if you can't wait until March 8, you can start getting hyped right now with this inspiring video by the Williams sisters.