Updated: Mar 29
Gifts are powerful. International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is also known in Italy as the Feste della Donne. To help you uplift the women in your life, here are 6 ways that your gifts can inspire change and celebrate them!
What Is the Feste della Donne?
In a joyful tradition that I have gotten to experience first hand, the Feste della Donne invites strangers and friends to honor the women in their life - in their homes, in their schools, even on the sidewalk - with a warm smile and, often, a small bundle of yellow mimosa flowers. It's bright, it's spontaneous, and it's thoughtful. The best gifts always are.
So, to inspire you to give this March, we've coupled our own sentiments about International Women's Day with some historic context from internationalwomensday.com, with easy and impactful gift ideas to let the women in your life know how much they matter!
1. Give because We Stand on the Shoulders of Those Who Came before Us.
Activism: In the late 1800's and early 1900's, women activists fought hard for equality. The focus was largely on securing the right to vote and equal pay for equal work. These two issues - women's voice and participation in government; and the gender pay gap - largely remain key priorities well over a century later.
So, what can you do? Don't give up!
2. Give because Empowered Women Do Empower Women.
Feminism: Fast-forward to the 1970's and widespread feminist action saw women rallying, protesting and lobbying hard for inclusion, influence and equality. Feminists faced many challenges - systemic and societal - not only from opposing men, but also from other women.
Recognize the women in your life who inspire you and inspire positive change.
3. Give to Encourage Growth at Your Own Pace, but Grow.
Retrospect on "Fix the women" Programs: The 1980's saw an array of "Fix the Women" programs that were well-meaning in trying to help women become more confident, visible, well-networked and assertive - but many reinforced a notion that women needed to "act like men" and "fit" into existing patriarchal structures and organizations if they were to succeed (all while still being a superwoman in the home). Shoulder pads, power suits, high heels and a loud voice were in fashion.
Give yourself (and others) room to grow. You may change along the way or simply bloom!
And if you need a minute, take one. It's allowed.
4. Give to Do Something. Lead by example.
Change the organization: The 1990's focused on organizational development: "Maybe if we change or fix the organizational structures, women will thrive?" So a focus on areas like 'women in the boardroom' escalated, as did more diverse recruiting, inclusive talent pipelines, and attention to wider diversity groups beyond gender such as race, LGBT+ and so forth. The introduction of "Top Company" and "Top Women" style lists occurred and as they increased in popularity, the number of new lists launched each year increased exponentially. The number of women's conferences and networks also increased significantly - and continue to play an important and necessary role across all countries. The volume of gender-related research also increased - new insight, new terms and understandings, new phrases, measurement of the extent of problems or success; hard facts and numbers; incremental data.
Know great women: Spend time with them and exchange your ideas and experiences. Help others learn about phenomenal women in our past and present who lead us forward.
5. Give to Prove That the Juice Is Worth the Squeeze.
Inclusive mindsets and tangible action are needed from everyone.
Men as allies: In more recent years, men as advocates and champions of change has been recognized as a major trend in accelerating women's equality. Many progressive CEOs and influential leaders have committed via formal public channels to helping build diverse and inclusive organizations that challenge stereotypes and bias.
Unlike that lemon garnish on your cocktail, don't get it twisted. This support is not a guarantee or easy. Speak up and stay strong.
6. Give to Support Equality Belonging to All Groups, Everywhere, Collectively.
Now the world expects inclusivity: And so here we are. Movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and the significant global rise in International Women's Day activity in every corner of the world - along with the many female-focused days and initiatives around the world - mean gender is firmly on the agenda. As expectations rise and information spreads faster and wider than ever before, organizations face unprecedented scrutiny from candidates, consumers, communities, investors, governments, and the media in terms of their support for and treatment or women. Many employers now publicly publish annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) reports and participate in various indices and accolades.
This work is not over. There are mountains to move. How can you make a difference? Who can you acknowledge? Where are thanks in order?
Let's get to it!
Thank you for being amazing women and supporting amazing women.