Once a year, the world comes together to celebrate the contributions of women to society, be it in our economy, politics, culture, and the arts. It is a month-long celebration to put a spotlight on women’s achievements in these aspects.
For over three decades now, March has been celebrated as the official National Women’s History Month declared by the U.S. Congress. It first started out as a weeklong celebration for women by a school district in Sonoma, California. Presentations were held about the contributions of women to society, arts, and culture. Across dozens of schools in the district, hundreds of students would participate in an essay contest entitled “Real Woman,” which aimed to recognize women’s achievements. Since it was a celebration, a parade would be held too.
This festivity caught on in other school districts, communities, and organizations. It eventually grew into a mobilized movement that rallied behind a national lobbying effort that led to former President Jimmy Carter declaring March 2-8 as National Women’s History Week in 1980.
Forty-five years later, the rest of the world joins that little district in Sonoma in celebrating Women’s History Month. The rest of the world takes part in what once was a small-town parade that celebrates the contributions and milestones of women.
We had come a long way since the time when the kitchen and the home were the only places that women expected to be in. It took centuries for women to have a seat at the table. This is why it bears weight for companies to show solidarity with Women’s History Month.
According to McKinsey, companies that honor women’s contributions and achievements in the workplace are building a more diverse and inclusive space for them to thrive. From a business standpoint, this makes your company more attractive to the Gen Z and Millennial workforce too, which is a big feat since they account for the majority of the talent pool today.
We talked to 5 workplace leaders and gathered ideas on how they best celebrated Women’s History Month in their offices. So, here are some ways organizations and businesses can take part in that celebration too.
Companies can feature inspiring stories of their female employees on their company website and social media to recognize and appreciate their contributions to the organization. Highlight female leaders within the company on social media to share their stories and milestones. This can be a great way to showcase the diversity of talent within your organization.“Social media is a great platform for women to share their experiences and career highlights. Every March, we dedicate a social media campaign to put a spotlight on the stories of inspiring female employees in our team. We do this for each one of them to give them a meaningful moment of recognition that details their valuable contributions,” shared Garrett Smith of GMB Gorilla.
Invite successful women from different industries to share their experiences, advice, and insights. This can be a great opportunity for your female employees to learn from and be inspired by other women who have succeeded in their careers.“On International Women’s Day, we wanted to highlight women’s excellence in science. We held an online panel discussion composed of female resource experts in the water treatment industry for our dedicated team of researchers. Our researchers had a field day geeking out about water filtration systems, reverse osmosis, hard water treatment resources, and such with the resource speakers. We want to highlight the brilliance of these exemplary women experts and for our team to learn from some of the industry’s best and brightest,” said Brian Campbell, Founder and Lead Water Geek at Water Filter Guru.
Launch an internal mentoring or sponsorship program, pairing junior female employees with more senior female mentors or sponsors to support their professional development. Offer special training or development opportunities for female employees, such as workshops on negotiation skills, public speaking, or leadership development.“Mentorship programs can help women develop new skills and knowledge that can help them advance in their careers. Setting up these programs in place provides women with valuable networking opportunities that help them expand their professional networks. This is especially important for women who may face barriers in networking due to gender biases,” shared Milo Cruz, CMO of Freelance Writing Jobs.
Self-development training can help women build confidence in their abilities and strengths, which is essential for professional success. When women feel confident in themselves, they are more likely to take on new challenges and pursue their goals.
This is why finance expert Jonathan Merry, Co-founder of Crypto Monday, focused on advocating for financial literacy this month. “Statistics reflect that women are still less educated than men in financial matters. They are less confident in making sound financial decisions. So, upon request, we’re hosting financial literacy training for our female team members to close the gap in unequal access to financial learning. After all, financial know-how is essential in attaining a gender-equal society,” said Merry.
“DEI initiatives can help break down the biases and stereotypes that may hold women back in the workplace. By reflecting proper observance of DEI in company policies and employee performance programs, organizations can create a more respectful and inclusive workplace culture for women to thrive,” said business owner Peter Hoopis.
There is every reason to celebrate the successes and contributions of women beyond the month of March. But joining in the celebration of Women’s History Month signifies a global movement making a stand toward an empowered, gender-equal future