We don’t live under a rock; behind every face, every joyous moment, or even every heartbreak, there is a person that is at least partially shaped by society past and present. International Women’s Day and the #Balanceforbetter campaign offers a platform for women to celebrate where we all are today, raise awareness against bias, and rally for a more gender-balanced world. For me, this is a great day to remember the accomplishments of the past and celebrate the rights and opportunities I have today.
What is International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate and recognize the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It was first held on March 8, 1911: over 15,000 women marched in solidarity along the streets of New York City campaigning for better pay, voting rights, and shorter working hours. Now, as a woman working in a consumer electronics industry at Best Buy Canada, it’s hard for me to imagine a world where women have to fight for basic rights. But they did, and many still do, so it’s time to celebrate and recognize what women have done and continue to do.
Where International Women’s Day is celebrated
Celebrations are happening all over the world. Take a look at how you can celebrate this day in your local workplace and in your community. One of the things I’m doing is writing this article to help raise awareness for the #Balanceforbetter campaign. If you are highly ambitious, you may want to host your own event.
Hosting your own International Women’s Day event
You’re not on your own as there are many resource available to help you get started. The International Women’s Day community offers resources on its website such as:
- Event Packs
- Downloadable Selfie Cards
- Downloadable Social Media Cards
- Group Activity Posters
- Tips on preparing speeches and presentations
This is just a sample that I picked out; take a look to find what speaks to your interests.
You’re likely to find lots already going on in your area too. International Women’s Day isn’t just for one group or one organization, it’s a community. From panel discussions on being a “Tech Leader in Male-Dominated Industries” in Toronto to a night of songs, prose and thought-provoking improv in Vancouver, there are lots of events taking place near you.
Strides in narrowing the gender gap
I’m fortunate to live in a country where strides are continuously being made to better balance the world when it comes to gender parity. For example, last October 2018, the Canadian Government introduced Proactive Pay Equity legislation that states that “women and men working in federally regulated workplaces” must receive equal pay for equal work. While this currently only applies to Federal employees, it is a step forward in addressing the wage gap.
What International Women’s Day means to me
I’m grateful to live in this current era. It’s hard to imagine how extremely different my life would be if I had been born 100 years earlier. And no, I don’t mean a life without Game of Thrones or Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” different. I would be quite different in terms of accomplishments, perspective, and most likely, expectations.
For example, let’s look at my Grandmother. I love her, and I can’t imagine growing up the way she did. To put this in perspective, my Grandmother was born in a rural town in the Philippines. Now, well into her eighties, she has never boarded a plane, never received a post-secondary education, and never went to “work” in her life. I wonder how her life would have been had she been afforded similar opportunities as I had. I was taught that if I work hard and work smart, I’ll be able to achieve almost anything. I’m pretty sure young girls were not told that 80 years ago in rural town Philippines. Whether it’s just hopping on a plane for my next vacation, completing my post-secondary education at the University of my choice, or securing my first job at a company I liked—I could do it and being a woman wouldn’t be a reason why I couldn’t.
Working at Best Buy Canada
One of the things that really drew me to Best Buy Canada is their goal to continually be better, not just as an organization but for its employees too. From offering books like “How Women Rise” to employees, to promoting and hiring women as part of leadership teams, Best Buy Canada continually strives for a tomorrow that is better than yesterday by embracing the uniqueness and differences of all employees.
The fact that women hold influential roles within the Best Buy Canada community showcases the progress in gender parity and the strides that have been made within society as a whole. It’s no longer perceived as odd, or wrong, to have a colleague who is a woman, to have a boss who is a woman, or to have a leader that is a woman—it’s now a norm. It’s a norm at Best Buy Canada, and I hope that through events like International Women’s Day this will become a norm around the world as well.
I mean, look at me: I recently graduated from university and already I’m writing this article right now, at my work desk, voicing my opinion. And this is not unusual in the 21st century. Life has certainly changed for women in the past century.
It’s looking at what the women before me have worked for and achieved for my generation that helps me understand the importance of celebrating days like International Women’s Day. I mean without the efforts of so many women around the world, would I have the same rights I have today? Would society have ever accepted a woman holding a position of power? A woman rising to the glass ceiling, and breaking through? Society can certainly still improve, and I look forward to the day when everyone can look to each other as equals.
So, let’s celebrate International Women’s Day today by always wanting to be better than yesterday and join in the #BalanceForBetter campaign to make a positive change for people everywhere.