This year the theme of IWD 2016 is Pledge for Parity, focussing on pay parity for women.
Beyond this, there’s plenty of work to do to protect women from sexual and physical violence, poverty and reproductive rights and policy.
Here are 10 things you can do right now to celebrate International Women’s Day and make a positive change:
1. Fund a micro-finance organisation that supports women in developing countries to start or grow their own business. Research has found that female recipients of this type of finance are the most likely to repay the debts, as well as make a sustainable living from their businesses.
2. Illuminate the path to leadership by making career opportunities more visible to women. AccorHotels has introduced a Strategic Leaders Development Program that has yielded remarkable results. In just 18 months following this commitment, the number of females in general manager roles at Accor increased from 27% to 36%.
3. Speed up culture change with progressive corporate policy, such as paternity leave and flexible working hours. It’s not just about equality for women; it’s about equality for everyone and providing support to employees who have children.
4. Build supportive environments and work to eliminate conscious and unconscious bias.
5. Be a role model to your female peers, family members, friends and children. Role modelling has been found to be one of the most powerful methods of encouraging other women to step into leadership positions.
6. Mentor someone or seek a mentor. Mentorship consolidates learning for both mentor and mentee and helps expand both parties’ professional networks.
7. Make a pledge for parity (more details here).
8. Support the UN’s International Women’s Day charity aimed at preventing violence against women and girls (more details here).
9. Learn about what’s going on in the rest of the world (more information here). Awareness breeds empathy and empathy breeds action.
10. Connect with other women and build a strong network.