International Women’s Day, launched in 1911, is celebrated during Women’s History Month, and this year the global community is coming together to empower, enrich and inspire all to celebrate the contributions of women and protect their rights.
President Obama, in his proclamation of this month commemorating Women’s History Month, also called upon all Americans to “celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.”
The theme for this year’s global campaign is “#PledgeforParity,” and men and women around the world will take a stance throughout this week to support the campaign in various ways—from helping women and girls to reach their career goals, to supporting and hosting events promoting gender-balanced leadership to developing more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias.
Partners in the efforts include international corporations and organizations, including Accenture, Western Union, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, BP and the African Development Bank. Other companies are publicly expressing their support of the campaign as well.
“Here at Virgin, we recognize that a culture that brings together the right group of people who mirror the wonderful diversity of our world and who can promote diversity of thought is good for business,” says CEO Sir Richard Branson in commemoration of the day.
“It’s a huge opportunity; not a challenge, and it’s great for the communities that we serve. We have the desire to make a positive difference to people’s lives through changing business for good, so we create an environment where all people can thrive— because of who they are; not in spite of it. That’s why, on International Women’s Day, I support the Pledge for Parity. It’s an important reminder that all of us in business can and must do so much more to promote equality, respect and fairness.”
“I support the Pledge for Parity campaign because I’m a passionate supporter of advancing women into leadership roles, where they not only have a seat at the table, but even more importantly, a voice,” says Fiona Dawson, a global president, Mars Food, Drink and Multi-sales.
Events supporting ideals of female equality are being hosted around the world by organizations and companies on a local, national and international level, including the Women of the World (WOW) Expo in London, sponsored by Bloomberg and featuring more than 150 events, including talks, debates, live music, comedy, workshops, our smash-hit WOW Speed Mentoring and the WOW Market; the United Nations is hosting events in more than 40 countries around the world, including sports activities and a festival, in line with their theme of “Step it Up for Gender Equality;” and Air India is even commemorating the day by launching 22 flights with an all-female crew.