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March 8 is International Women’s Day. Additionally, the entire month is devoted to National Women’s History.
I typically celebrate the day with social media posts that feature the year’s theme. This time, with 2021 my Year of the Wild Woman, a longer post feels more appropriate.
Discover the origins of this day that celebrates women around the world. And join me in recognizing some amazing women.
Origins of International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is a globally recognized day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It’s also a day to join together to promote women’s equality.
International Women’s Day has occurred annually for more than 100 years. The first official honoring of the day took place simultaneously in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911. More than one million women and men attended rallies campaigning for women’s right to work, vote, and hold public office and to end discrimination. In 1913 the date moved to March 8.
The International Women’s Day website launched in 2001, re-energizing the day. The website offers helpful resources and guidance and issues a theme for each year.
This year’s theme, Choose to Challenge, highlights personal responsibility and choice.
Choose to Challenge
“A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions, all day, every day.” IWD website
From challenge, comes change.
All of us, men and women, can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. Together we can create an inclusive world.
And we can choose to celebrate women’s achievements and accomplishments.
That’s the focus of my post.
Celebrate Women’s Accomplishments
Today…and every day…it’s important to recognize women for the incredible contributions that they bring to the world even while we continue to strive for greater gender equality and opportunities.
Women are making a difference in so many areas of life including science, art, education, technology, music, medicine, sports, journalism, relationships, government and creativity.
I am choosing to feature women in four categories in this post: books, films, businesses and charities. And I challenge you to check out these remarkable women and share the accomplishments of women in other fields.
Amazing Women Authors
I recognize the accomplishments of these female authors and heartily recommend their books:
Glennon Doyle – Untamed
In her powerful memoir, Glennon shares the joys and deep peace we find when we stop trying to live up to the expectations of others and start listening to the still voice within.
“There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent—even from ourselves.”
Amanda Gorman – The Hill We Climb
This gift edition book features Amanda’s memorable poem, read during the presidential inauguration. Amanda is the first ever national youth poet laureate of the United States and the youngest presidential inaugural poet in US history.
“For there is always light, if only we are brave enough to to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it.”
Inspiring Women Centric Films
Check out these inspiring movies about women in history:
Hidden Figures (2016)
The true story of a team of female African American mathematicians who played a key role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.
This drama tracks the working women in 1912 London who become foot soldiers in the early feminist movement, willing to lose everything in their fight for equality.
Women Run Businesses
These innovative women birthed companies that meet a need, especially for other women:
Tia Mowry – Anser
You may know Tia from the series Sister, Sister. Tia now runs Anser, a company that provides supplements for women. The supplements feature clean ingredients, essential vitamins and high quality nutrients that fuel the body. Her purpose for the company is to encourage and inspire women to be proactive about wellness.
Alina Morse – Zolli Candy
This amazing teen invented a candy that cleans teeth, providing moms with an alternative to sugary treats. Alina is the youngest INC 5000 CEO and also the youngest person to ever appear on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine. Stores like Walmart and Amazon carry Alina’s candies. Her desire is to help mothers keep their families smiling and healthy.
Charities That Help Women
There are so many wonderful charities run by women to benefit women and children. Check out these two:
BlinkNow operates a globally recognized children’s home and school in Nepal.
The mission: to change the world by empowering Nepal’s children. BlinkNow does this by providing quality education and a safe environment for children and women, and through inspiring others.
Womankind is a mental health charity run by women, for women.
The mission: to work with survivors of gender-based violence, to rise above trauma and build a path to healing. They bring critical resources and deep cultural competency to help Asian communities find refuge, recovery, and renewal.
How We As Women Help
I love the theme for International Women’s Day this year. Although I may wish it otherwise, challenges do help me grow and change. When I look back at the most challenging situations in my life, I see the massive growth that accompanied those times. And change happens as a result.
So what does it mean to choose to challenge?
We choose to use our voices, our words, our actions, our influence to challenge what we see happening in our communities. And we challenge ourselves to live as our most authentic selves. Because only as we live as those powerful versions of ourselves can we create change.
For me that’s releasing my inner wild woman this year. For you that might be tapping into your creative side or working through old fears or stepping outside your comfort zone. Finding your voice, speaking your truth and following your passionate heart are all ways of challenging yourself to live as the person you are created to be.
Strike a Pose
Show your support of women and the commitment to call out inequality by raising your hand high. Choose to challenge. Strike a pose and share your photo on social media. Use the hashtags #choosetochallenge and #IWD2021 to encourage others to help create an inclusive world.
It doesn’t just matter today. It matters everyday.
“Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”
One of my contributions for encouraging and supporting women:
Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.
26 Replies to “Choose to Challenge”
Its great to see successful women running companies and occupying important positions. They are great role models for our daughters, who will be raised with the idea that women can accomplish anything!
What an awesome way to pay homage to some awesome ladies! I didn’t know the history behind International Women’s Day until now.
And may we raise our boys to be men who appreciate strong women.
This was so inspiring as well as informative. I had no idea of the history of IWD. Women are so powerful. Thanks for sharing and educating.
This is a great list Cindy. I love Glennon Doyle. I haven’t read Untamed yet though. I really enjoyed Carry on Warrior, though. It helped me cope after my miscarriages. She’s got such a strong voice for women, it’s easy to feel inspired after reading her work.
Great post we should be equal!
I really liked Hidden Figures. Was super empowering to see women, especially women of colour so powerfully portrayed. I’m going to checkout those supplements from Tia Mowry, thanks for the info 🤙
Isn’t that what we do here…support and challenge each other to be great!
I love the theme of Choose to Challenge this year. Thanks for spreading more awareness for this month and also the importance behind the day/month. I LOVE Glennon’s book(s) and I am going to save this list of challenging women for my next book!
Glendon’s books…so powerful! 🙌🏼
Love this! I remember watching a special about the Alina Candy when it came out and I was impressed
Thanks for this great post celebrating so many awesome achievements made by women and these great organizations to support!
Thank you for the backstory on this day! Definitely was new to me! What wasn’t new tho, is that we women are warriors. I’m thankful many are now beginning to embrace their inner goddess🙏🏻
Equality for All!
I want to check out the teeth-cleaning lollipops. I’m not much of a lollipop person, but I am definitely intrigued! What a brilliant young woman who developed them!
Isn’t she?! So creative.
I saw Suffragette when I was half-heartedly looking for a new movie to watch on Netflix. It was so powerful – I seriously bawled like a baby. It’s not nearly as popular as it should be.
It is powerful! And sad. We need to know what women have done to get us to where we are today.
What great reminders that anything is possible!