International Women's Day 2020

By Logan Bright Modified on March 08, 2020
Tags : Arts & Culture | Campus Life | Relationships

We are #GenerationEquality

Four young women smile and laugh together on International Women's Day, 2020.

Today is International Women's Day, when the world celebrates women's ongoing contributions to the global community.

The theme this year is "I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women's Rights," and it marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a progressive blueprint for global women's rights. International Women's Day offers us an opportunity to reflect on the past — and prepare for the future.

The Generation Equality campaign is about creating a more just, equitable world for everyone. To help, Generation Equality offers twelve "small actions with big impact" — things we can all do in our daily lives to bring greater equality and justice into the world. Here, we share just the highlights. To read the whole piece, visit the UN Women website.

1. Share the care

  • evenly share household chores and unpaid labour
  • recognize the value of labour in the home
  • realize women typically take on three times more domestic work than men!

2. Call out sexism and harassment

  • be safe and respectful, but call out inappropriate behaviour when you see it, and get help if you need it
  • challenge stereotypical ideas of gender
  • learn more at Unpack the Everyday

3. Reject binaries

  • it's humankind, not mankind! use gender-neutral terms whenever possible
  • recognize and embrace diverse gender identities that fall outside the scope of "male or female"
  • check out the Genderbread Person to learn more about sex, gender, identity, and expression

4. Demand an equal work culture

  • women face discrimination in the workplace every day, from the gender pay gap to sexual harassment
  • businesses should offer a unified parental leave scheme, encouraging fathers to engage as much as mothers
  • support companies with strong gender equality records: check out Equileap for a list based around the Women's Empowerment Principles

5. Exercise your political rights

  • register to vote, and get your friends and family out to the polls, too
  • consider voting for women, who hold only 25 percent of seats in national parliaments and make up less than seven percent of world leaders
  • donate time, money, join a campaign, or even run for office yourself!

6. Shop responsibly

  • climate-induced disasters often intensify existing gender inequalities, leaving women and girls subject to violence and malnutrition
  • shop second-hand, and recycle, upcycle, or donate used items
  • avoid buying single-use plastics, and encourage your friends to do the same

7. Amplify feminist media

  • movies, books, and games have long-lasting effects on popular culture
  • seek out media created by and for women to push back against male-dominated fields
  • when in doubt, check out these 12 feminist books everyone should read

8. Teach girls their worth

  • girls worldwide are often taught they're "dependant, vulnerable or incapable" early in their lives
  • remind girls in your life they're strong, intelligent, athletic — bold, not bossy!
  • opt for gender-neutral toys: there's no wrong or right way to be a girl

9. Challenge what it means to "be a man"

  • "man up" and "boys don't cry" can dissuade boys and men from sharing their feelings openly
  • support traditionally non-masculine traits in men like vulnerability, sensitivity, and caretaking
  • foster safe environments for sharing, and call out those who mock and dismiss

10. Commit to a cause

  • pick an equality topic that resonates with you and find others with like minds — or even start your own action group!
  • consider donating to UN Women to support equal rights for women and girls around the world
  • remember, action is meaningful at every scale, from city-wide protest to sharing a news story

11. Challenge beauty standards

  • though standards vary, they often portray an unrealistic vision of femininity
  • push back against advertising's status quo — learn more at the Unstereotype Alliance
  • rethink what beauty means: celebrate all bodies as valuable and deserving of respect

12. Respect the choices of others

  • everyone has the right to make their own decisions
  • if you're uncomfortable with someone's choices, ask yourself why, and examine your own biases and your differing life circumstances
  • take time to learn about others and think critically about the world

These small actions don't happen in isolation, and they aren't only for International Women's Day. Practicing these habits every day will help us all slowly transition to a more just, fair, equitable world for all.

Remember, to read more about the 12 small actions with big impact, check out the entire article from UN Women.

Also, be sure to check out this video celebrating #GenerationEquality.

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