I love International Women’s Day. I remember great lectures in honor of this day in college, visiting my old hometown Fort Wayne, Indiana for their 99th annual city-wide celebration of the day, and just love the thought of a pause in the calendar to honor heroic women. I realize everyday should be International Women’s Day, just like every day should be Mother’s Day. But I think it’s ok that one SPECIAL day be set aside to honor women’s courage, sacrifice, effort, and ultimately, our equality with the other “wing” of the bird of humanity, our partners in making this world better: men. And please, don’t limit this to an activity for your girls. Our boys NEED to build this awareness – to be better men.
One idea for today and for your families: think of someone to dedicate your day to. Each of you think of somebody. She can be alive or have passed on. Someone you know personally or only have admired from afar. Athletic or activist. American or not. Celebrated or nearly-forgotten. Women’s courage near or far, now or then has been powerful.
Talk about this with your children. Who do you admire? Why? What action can you take today as you think about them? Maybe it’s simply helping out a friend who could use an extra hand/nudge/smile/inclusion at school, or remember to put away their things at home without being asked. Write a letter to grandma or if they’re ready, to your Congress member to remember women, or to a political prisoner through Amnesty International (or just read the powerful stories on Amnesty’s terrific website) – just to say they remember them today. Or learn about an organization like BRAC or Tahirih Justice or UN Women or Momsrising or GirlUp or Million Moms Challenge for maternal health or countless others. If we do this consciously, for this special day, it can mean something, and I’ll admit it – it feels good too.
Later today you can tune in to the Livestream of The Daily Beast’s Women in the World Summit. I’m honored to have been invited as a delegate again and hope to post and tweet updates and impressions from this awesome gathering.