This week marks International Women’s Day, March 8th, a global celebration of women celebrated widely throughout the 20th century but marked officially by the United Nations General Assembly in 1977. Haven’t heard of it? You’re not alone–while International Women’s Day isn’t as well known as some Hallmark holidays here in the United States, the holiday is widely celebrated in Europe and beyond. Regardless of whether you’ve been celebrating for years or just heard about the party, below are five ways your company can get involved in a global celebration of the women who impact you and your organization every day:
How to Celebrate International Women’s Day
Make celebrating a team sport
One of the biggest mistakes companies make with women’s initiatives is only engaging women in the conversation. 70% of men believe gender diversity is important, and given that men represent 83% of C-Suite executives, leaving guys out of the conversation leaves a lot of opportunity for change and transformation on the table. Your success as an organization as it relates to inclusion is directly proportional to the degree that you make empowering women a core part of your business philosophy rather than a one-off network or affinity group for women only, so consider including all employees in your celebration, regardless of how you choose to participate in the day.
Start A dialogue
A quarter billion women have entered the workplace worldwide since 2006, yet the World Economic Forum’s 2016 survey shows women make as much money as men did a decade ago. The challenges for women in the workplace aren’t relegated to pay: only 14.2% of the top five leaders in S&P 500 companies are women. The numbers are staggering, but what’s often missing is a dialogue within organizations on how to make gender equity a priority. Taking the time to engage in the discussion, to solicit ideas on what can be better, and create a meaningful space for men and women to share ideas on this topic is an easy way to make a big impact. We assembled a guide for companies to start this discussion for a Blog Club, so even if you don’t have time for a lot of planning, it’s easy and fast to host a meaningful discussion around the day.
Say thank you
One of the simplest ways to celebrate International Women’s Day is encouraging employees to thank women who have made an impact on their lives, whether those women are colleagues, customers, partners, former teachers, or well-known leading ladies in the world of music, politics, sports, or business. At HubSpot, we provided thank you cards in all of our global locations to make it easy for men and women globally to thank women who inspired them. We then assembled a video of those messages of gratitude and shared it with our organization and the world, encouraging our customers, partners, and community to get involved and follow our lead. Gratitude is contagious, so giving people an easy way to recognize amazing women in their lives is a simple way to create a significant amount of inspiration and conversation in your company.
Tackle an issue you’re uniquely positioned to solve
Mozilla has a great initiative this year focused on cyber safety for young women, while Sport England is pioneering a “This Girl Can” campaign focused on building confidence in girls through sports and fitness. Find an issue that already has meaning to your company and your customers and host an event or campaign that aligns with it–doing so conveys authenticity and increases engagement from your core audiences, so the day is impactful for everyone involved.
In addition to increasing the dialogue internally, there’s huge value in setting a positive example for women and girls outside your organization by giving back for International Women’s Day. At HubSpot, our engineering team is hosting a group of dynamic young women for an Hour of Code, and opening up our evening event focused on getting more Women on Boards to anyone in the greater Boston community. Whether you host a visit for a local Girl Scout troop, make a donation to an amazing local organization doing great work on behalf of young women in your neighborhood, or encourage employees to give back to local non-profits focused on women’s access and equality, sharing your time, effort, energy, or money.
Empowering women isn’t just good for your brand, it’s good for your business: studies show teams with more women perform better and companies with women in leadership roles outperform those without female leaders so everyone at your organization should have a vested interest in creating a workplace that actively empowers and engages female employees in a meaningful way. Whether you’ve been celebrating International Women’s Day for years or are just hearing about it for the first time this year, getting in the game is a great way to make your workplace and employment brand more inclusive. If you’re still on the fence about jumping in, we created a Powerful Woman Playlist you can rock out to at work, an inspiration video of remarkable women, and a blog club discussion guide you can use easily today to celebrate. Start a dialogue, run an event, thank someone you admire, but whatever you do, don’t be afraid to get started–creating even one conversation or opportunity can have a huge impact on your candidates, customers, and your company’s commitment to women.