International Women’s Day is on March 8, and it’s a great opportunity to talk to your kids about the importance of equality and the historical fight for women’s rights.
If you think this topic is too complicated, we’ve compiled some helpful, age-appropriate suggestions so you can explain why IWD matters and how to celebrate it.
Start with the History
International Women’s Day has been celebrated on March 8 since 1911 when many women were fighting for the right to vote. Manitoba was the first Canadian province to give some women the right to vote in 1916. The fight for voting rights is closely tied to what is known as the women’s suffrage movement, which sought to address the inequality and injustice women were facing. In 1975 the United Nations started sponsoring International Women’s Day. The theme in 2020 is I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.
Choose an Issue to Explore
Use a particular issue such as education, health care or employment to help kids understand what gender inequality is and why it matters. Our kids may not know that globally, women earn 23% less than men, or that an estimated 12 million girls around the world are forced to marry before they turn 18, or that girls in many countries face almost insurmountable barriers to education, especially if they are disabled.
Point to Famous Examples
There are many women we can point to, both from a modern and historical perspective, who’ve changed the world through their fight for equality; women like Frida Kahlo, Florence Nightingale, Margaret Sanger, Rosa Parks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sally Ride and Malala Yousafzai who refused to abide by the status quo and led the way for those who came after them.
10 Ways to Celebrate
Read a book. We love this list of 15 Books for Kids to Celebrate International Women’s Day, from kitchencounterchronicle.com.
Make a craft. Check out these easy and adorable construction paper flowers!
Give something you’ve bought or made to an important woman in your life. Whether it’s a craft, cookies, a card or something quirkier, on March 8 tell your neighbour, coach, teacher or any important woman in your life how she inspires you.
Make gingerbread girls. Get the cookie-cutter here.
Help your daughter find her voice. Journals can encourage positivity and self-expression, like this Just Between Us mom-and-me, no-rules diary for tween girls, or the Confidence Code for Girls journal.
Find girl power on screen. Tune in to a show with a strong female lead, like Anne with an e, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or Project Mc2 on Netflix. Or make a date to see the live-action version of Mulan, in theatres March 27.
Support a movement. Take Plan International’s Girls Get Equal pledge, make a donation to the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Tireless campaign to support the pursuit of gender equality, or purchase a Rafiki Bracelet from We Charity to support female artisans in Kenya.
Cheer on a female athlete. Attend a girl’s or women’s sporting event in your area and check out She Is, an organization using the power of sport to create a future of, by and for strong women.
Learn. Check out the wonderful IWD resources compiled by Penguin Random House including books, videos and lesson packs.
Are you a teacher? These great classroom resources will get your students inspired and excited about International Women’s Day.
And remember …. who run the world?