International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Marked annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day (IWD) is one of the most important days of the year to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about women’s equality, lobby for accelerated gender parity, and fundraise for female-focused charities.
This year, the IWD theme is #ChooseToChallenge!
“A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.” – International Women’s Day Organization
We, at the YWCA Saskatoon, decided the best way to challenge gender bias and inequality is by learning, reading, and sharing knowledge. We have compiled some AMAZING resources, and we are challenging YOU to complete each task over the next week. With each check mark, you will contribute to the ongoing battle fought by many feminist and activists around the world.
Watch a Documentary
Take time-off from binge watching your favourite TV series and dedicate your night to a riveting documentary, which highlights extraordinary women and their fight for gender equality!
Some of our favourites include:
- RBG – a documentary film which focuses on the incredible life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and how her pivotal work has positively impacted women’s rights. This can be viewed on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.
- Period. End of Sentence. – a documentary based on women in India who have fought against the stigma surrounding menstruation and who have begun to manufacture sanitary pads. This film can be viewed on Netflix and YouTube.
- Feminists: What Were They Thinking? – a documentary that revisits the 1970s with photos that captured a feminist awakening. The film also looks to the present day and stresses the need for the culture to continue shifting toward equality. It can be viewed on Netflix.
Attend an IWD Event
There are countless events scheduled over the next week, which will be hosted virtually from cities and countries around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day! Attending an event is a great way to learn more and take part of the movement. Head over to Eventbrite to find an event that interests you!
Or… there are events hosted by women, right here, in our community!
YWiB USask is hosting their virtual International Women’s Day event on Saturday, March 6th at 4:30PM. The event will include keynote speaker, Jacqueline Conway, and a catered charcuterie board from Nic’s Catering and Fine Foods! Tickets can be purchased HERE.
SaskMusic is hosting a International Women’s Day Concert on Sunday, March 7th. Twenty-plus artists from around Saskatchewan will be showcased in the event, representing a variety of musical styles and artists both emerging and established. Click HERE for more information!
USSU Women’s Centre will be hosting multiple “Women in Leadership” events throughout March 8th-12th. Events will include discussion panels, workshops, giveaways and more. Click HERE for more information!
Read & Research
Do you know the stories of those who have fought for our rights? Strong women have been advocating for simple human rights for over a hundred years and there are notable women who are STILL fighting. Women have battled and successfully won the right to be identified as a person, to own property, and the right to vote. Today, we still fight for equal pay, the right to an education, and bodily autonomy.
It is imperative that we learn how far we’ve come so we can continue to make progressions towards equality. It is also incredibly important to see who is currently making waves so that you can help elevate their voices. Here is a very short list of feminists and activists who have worked for women’s rights and freedoms:
- The Famous Five – also known as the Valiant Five, these five prominent Canadian suffragists advocated for women and children. The five consisted of: Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise Mckinney, Emily Murphy, and Irene Parlby.
- Heather Jarvis and Sonya Barnett – these Canadians co-founded the SlutWalk in 2011, which has since transformed into a global march to protest against victim-blaming for those who have suffered from assault or rape.
- Malala Yousafzai – is a current Pakistani activist who fights for female education. Due to her resilience and perseverance, Malala is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. Be sure to read her book, “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban”.
In addition to gender biases and inequality, women are often the victims of gender-based violence. This violence can be defined as “any act that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life” (United Nations).
There are remarkable non-profit organizations within our community that provide women with assistance and support. Whether they are threatened with gender-based violence, homelessness, or poverty, these organizations help guide them towards a better and safer future. Below are a few women focused organizations or initiatives that you could donate to this week:
- YWCA Saskatoon – our programs help women and children within our community by providing safety and assistance in times of uncertainty. We have an array of services, such as a Crisis Shelter and Residence, that supports individuals while at different or challenging stages of their life.
- Saskatoon Interval House – a temporary shelter for women and children leaving domestic violence who require safe accommodation. They provide support through shelter, supportive counselling, referrals, and advocacy.
- Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan – a non-profit organization that works with women before, during, and after incarceration in order to end recidivism and the poverty cycle.
- United Way’s #TamponTuesday – an incredible initiative which helps women to access menstrual products. Donations must be made before March 6th.
Nominate a Local Leader
We are very thankful for the brave women who have made impactful contributions to our community! Whether they are entrepreneurs, has their hands in revolutionary research or technology, or they have broken barriers within the trade industry, their work matters!
We challenge you to nominate a friend, neighbour, or role model for our YWCA Women of Distinction Awards presented by Nutrien. A simple nomination could validate someone’s work or inspire other like-minded women to rise above!
Click HERE to start your nomination!
Join the Conversation
Lastly, we encourage you to speak up and join the conversation! If each person was to use their voice, the message and mission of women’s equality would ring loud for all to hear!
How can you use your voice? Share your #ChooseToChallenge Checklist on your social media channels! In sharing your week long journey, you will spread awareness to your friends and followers. By tagging @YWCASaskatoon and #ChooseToChallengeYXE, we can spark a conversation amongst our community!
Below are graphics which can be printed or used on your social media. Post your progress throughout the week as you check those boxes OR take a picture of you completing each task!
We, at the YWCA Saskatoon, thank you for partaking in our #ChooseToChallenge Checklist! We appreciate your ongoing support for our cause and community.