It’s the International Women’s Day. A global day set aside for celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Marked annually on March 8th, the 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 and a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.
History of International Women’s Day
Clara Zetkin founded International Women’s Day over a century with the first gathering held in 1910. For more than a century people around the world have been marking 8 March as a special day for women. This grew out of the labour movement to become a recognised annual event by the United Nations (UN).
The idea to make the International Women’s Day came from Clara Zetkin. She suggested the idea in 1910 at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. There were 100 women there, from 17 countries, and they agreed on her suggestion unanimously.
It wasn’t formalised until a war-time strike in 1917 when Russian women demanded “bread and peace” – and four days into the women’s strike the Tsar was forced to abdicate and the provisional government granted women the right to vote.
The date when the women’s strike commenced on the Julian calendar, which was then in use in Russia, was Sunday 23 February. This day in the Gregorian calendar was 8 March – and that’s when it’s celebrated today.
The seeds of it were planted in 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. It was the Socialist Party of America who declared the first National Woman’s Day, a year later.
It was first celebrated in 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. The centenary was celebrated in 2011, so this year we’re technically celebrating the 110th International Women’s Day.
Things were made official in 1975 when the United Nations started celebrating the day. The first theme adopted by the UN (in 1996) was “Celebrating the past, Pinning for the Future”.
International Women’s Day has become a date to celebrate how far women have come in society, in politics and in economics. It’s a national holiday in many countries, including Russia where the sales of flowers doubles during the three or four days around 8 March. In China, many women are given a half-day off work on 8 March, as advised by the State Council, although many employers don’t always pass the half-day on to their female employees. In Italy, International Women’s Day, (or la Festa della Donna), is celebrated by the giving of mimosa blossom. The origin of this tradition is unclear but it is believed to have started in Rome after World War Two. In the US, the month of March is Women’s History Month. A presidential proclamation issued every year honours the achievements of American women.
This year saw Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala becomes the first woman and first Nigerian and African to be chosen as Director-General, World Trade Organisation and the inauguration of Kamala Harris as the first female, first black and first Asian-American US vice president.
This year’s International Women’s Day 2021campaign theme is ‘Choose To Challenge’ with the idea that a challenged world is an alert world and individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions. “We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality,” the campaign states. “We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world”. People are being asked to “raise your hand high to show you’re in and that you commit to choose to challenge and call out inequality”. So let’s all #ChooseToChallenge.
What colors symbolize International Women’s Day?
Purple, green and white are the colors of International Women’s Day. Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity, albeit a controversial concept. The colors originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908.
The day belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist, nor to any one organization, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” So make International Women’s Day your day and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women.
What’s your purpose?
One of the questions I often get is “What is a Woman’s purpose?”; “What are we supposed to do with our lives?”; “What are we here for?”; “How do I find my life purpose?”
And as you would already know, women in many cultures today have been brainwashed in to thinking that if they’re not making any money, if they don’t have the typical college degree or ‘career’, then they are really not worthy. Even if you’re in touch with your femininity, it is easy to fall in to this trap.
Well, firstly, my feeling is that it is not necessary to go to university or college. In fact, I think it’s time for everyone to re-consider university or college and think FIRSTLY about their passion. Not that you shouldn’t go to university per se. It’s just that, from personal experience, I prefer I got an education than went to higher institution.
I would like to just say one thing that I’d like you to keep in mind whilst reading this article: Our culture is changing; you no longer have to get a 9-5 job to make money. Educate yourself financially (something they don’t teach you in school which I think is just plain cruel), and I have found that a woman can live out her life purpose; her number one passion and feed herself through it if she so desires.
In unlocking your purpose, you inspire and impact the world with your unique influence without sacrificing lifestyle and income. Stop feeling like life is a constant uphill battle – stressed, overwhelmed, and fearful in your relationships and work. Lockdown or pandemic can’t stop you to have an undeniable desire to connect with your life purpose.
Can I ask you few questions? Do you feel fulfilled in what you do, are you exhausted from putting everyone else’s needs first, do you have feelings of self-doubt that prevent you from embracing change, is your happiness a priority?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these, then you need to unlock your purpose to make life flow easy and abundantly. Stop being reactive allowing your emotions to get the better of you. Connect and communicate better in your relationships. Either as a parent, friend, lover, colleague, but most importantly as the amazing and unique woman you’re meant to be. Stop allowing certain things and negative people make you feel frustrated or give you feelings of self-doubt.
Steps to Achieving Your Purpose
One of the key elements of a flourishing, fulfilling life is a sense of purpose that allows us to find our passions, pursue important goals and ultimately live lives of authentic happiness. Most of us today, especially the youths go about our lives without actively thinking about what purpose we are trying to accomplish. If you’ve lost your purpose in life, not to worry, these steps can help to develop a more deliberate awareness of your goals and achieve a meaningful life.
- What’s your goal: The first thing you need to do is be clear about your purpose and intentions. Ask yourself, who do I want to be? How do I want to live? What do I want to do? How am I going to do it? Then secondly, explore the roads that lead to your goals and the obstacles in your way. Countless times, these obstacles become opportunities for growth and change. Purpose is about intention—having goals that help build the framework for your plans and fulfillment in life. Those goals can be large or small in scope. If you want to eat more healthfully, you’ll be motivated to buy more fruits and vegetables. If you want to have a positive effect on the society, learn more about the issues around you and join like-minded people so you can get your cause on the next ballot for positive change.
- How big is your Goal: As a woman you’ve been influenced right from the time you are small by those around you including your parents and the society at large. You’ve been told of what is important and how you are expected to live. While these influences can be helpful, it is crucial to find your own true meaning and purpose in life. To be a great woman of purpose, begin to look at the big picture and then work out the small details by yourself.
- What do you value most: To be a woman of purpose you have to consult your morals and values. Yes, if you want to live with purpose, you need to understand and explore what you value the most. If you value teaching children, you can focus on that area. If you value creating beauty, you can grow a beautiful garden or express yourself through art, makeup or music. If you value helping others, you can start by giving what you have- money, inspire and motivate those around you. In all you do, just find a way to make what you love to do happen.
- Build up your courage: Many a times we need the weaker parts of ourselves in order to accomplish what we so desire. If you feel stuck in an unsatisfying job because you are afraid of risk-taking, work on building up your courage.
- What’s your legacy: It is said that legacy is greater than currency. It’s very important to know what kind of legacy you would like to leave behind. Erik Erikson, an expert in psychological development, focused on the stages of change across the life span. He called the final stage in life “Ego Integrity vs. Despair.” This reckoning happens at the sunset of life, when you reflect on your past and decide what you are satisfied with and what you regret. Before getting to that stage, think about what you want to be remembered for, about who you are and what is important to you. This will help shape your purpose and goals.
It’s true we all want to live a life of meaningful purpose. But the key is to figure out what in life creates meaning for you, create goals and behaviours that support your intentions.
How do you unlock your purpose?
Do you even know that your life purpose holds the key to your happiness, fulfillment, your children’s future, everything? Just one person living their purpose changes the path of their life, their children’s lives and everyone they come in contact with. Just one person’s pleasant smile and attitude spreads to others infectiously. A greeting and kind word from a stranger have been known to stop someone from attempting suicide or committing a crime. Someone who felt alone and worthless now feels seen and cared about. In turn, they do the same for others. A single act of kindness they say creates a ripple effect across the world.
Below are three simple ways revealed to unleash your potentials.
- Clarity of Vision: On the journey to re-discover true purpose in life, it’s important to learn how to tap into your intuition and get clarity on what your vision is. It’s only when you find your unique purpose will you follow your deepest desire, and live the life you’ve always dreamed of.
- Be Aware of You: When you’ve gotten a clear vision as to who you want to be known for, discover how to boost your spiritual awareness so you can fully embody your life’s purpose. You MUST learn how to stop feeling disconnected from yourself and others, so you can feel calm, happy, and positive.
- Stay Motivated: In the face of adversity, the only way you can positively and powerfully move forward is by creating a meaningful and manageable action plan to stay motivated and remain optimistic. Learn how to continue making money doing what you love without sacrificing lifestyle or income. It’s not easy but in the long run, it’s worth it.
Knowing your purpose as a woman
It’s one thing to know about yourself, it is another thing to find your purpose in life. It is not easy to actually figure out our destiny as we grow up. Honestly, your destiny lies through finding your purpose. I have seen lots of people who have found their purpose in teaching. A teacher in my country is no longer recognised, they get paid peanuts yet there are some who would go out of their way because it is what they love. Same also journalists, putting their lives at risk to get exclusives yet are owned salary for months.
It is important to take some time in our busy schedules to sit down and ask ourselves what am l destined for, what is my purpose in this life. You ask the God you believe in or any other higher power who you believe in to show you the way, to let you how to make a difference. It does not have to be big or wow or even earn you money, it has to be that thing you will like to do without being forced or spend sleepless nights doing passionately while you smile.
This is absolutely amazing. It’s important to know ones purpose in life only then will you dedicate all your time and efforts to it. Sometimes it should not just be about money but satisfaction as well. And once that purpose has been realised, it is also important to engage discipline to it in order to maximise positive outcomes. By discipline I simply mean consistently working towards that purpose with no excuses.
To live successfully in the world, women need to know who they are and what role they play today. They need a new awareness of who they are, and new skills to meet today’s challenges. Best-selling author Myles Munroe in one of his books examines societies’ attitudes toward women and helps women to discover who they are. Let’s address some vital issues bothering women such as: Are women and men equal? What are the purpose and design of the woman? Are women meant to be leaders? Please whether you are a woman or a man, married or single; understand the woman as she was meant to be not what you want her to be.
Although every woman’s personal life purpose will be different, a woman’s true life purpose in general, really is to create and not destroy. It’s most importantly to live your passion so that you can be an example to others. It’s to find fulfillment, and to seek growth and contribution. And it’s also to deliver yourself, in your feminine true core to the entire world.
Where does true fulfillment come from? All this job talk aside; true fulfillment will come from what you give to others, as well as how much you are willing to grow. For most, it’s hard to choose the path that gives you the most growth.
If you feel or know that your job decreases your radiance as a woman – and you know it’s not your passion, it’s time to find an alternative. You must be true to yourself. There’s plenty of space for EVERY woman to live her passion.
Woman, unlock your purpose to help forge positive change and equality for others today by identifying, celebrating and increasing visibility of women’s achievements. Also strategic collaborations based on a foundation of shared purpose, trust and appreciation can impact positive change for women drastically.
As women of purpose, let’s raise awareness through meaningful narratives, resources and activity to help combat gender bias and discrimination to accelerate gender parity. There’s urgent work to do and we can all play a part to be successful.
Remember the empowered woman you already are – calm, clear, and confident. You on purpose, means living from a deep inner-knowing why you were born on this earth and knowing exactly how to inspire and impact the world with your unique influence.
We determine who we are by what we do!
Share your experience, suggestions, thoughts etc with us in the comment section or via email. Don’t forget to share, like and follow me on all social media platforms.
Theresa Moses, a.k.a Tessy Gold a.k.a Adorable is a creative journalist with an extraordinary personality. Sharing Your Thoughts is aimed to inspire you to be unique. It’s the thought that counts!
Phone: +234-803-449-9132; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Instagram: allurabletessy; LinkedIn: Theresa Moses; Twitter: @moses_theresa; Facebook: Theresa Moses