March is Women’s History Month, which means it’s time to celebrate the women in your office!
Across the world, employers are leaning into diversity and inclusion programs to help foster a better work environment for all. This March, your organization has the opportunity to celebrate the women of history who fought the good fight for equity. And while there’s still a long way to go, there are things you can do today to celebrate women in the workplace right now.
This post will briefly explore the background of Women’s History Month, as well as six ways you can encourage conversations about Women’s History Month. It also highlights authors, speakers, and nonprofit organizations that benefit women’s causes, all designed to help your team make an impact with your Women’s History Month celebration.
A Brief Rundown of Women’s History Month
Women have fought for progress and equality for centuries but significant progress has been made over the last hundred years. To understand how we got where we are today, it’s important to remember the women that paved the way.
This is a brief outline of some of the most monumental moments toward gender equity that have occurred over the last century. For more information on women’s suffrage and the fight for equity, check out this timeline and, more importantly, this article, which explore these milestones in more detail and offer insight into the aspects of women’s suffrage that are often omitted.
- 1909: First observance of Women’s Day in New York
- 1911: First International Women’s Day observed
- 1975: The United Nations recognizes and adopts International Women’s Day
- 1980: President Jimmy Carter formalizes the first National Women’s History Week
- 1987: Congress passes legislation to formalize the first Women’s History Month
These are just a few of the milestones made by women in the last couple decades. Women’s History Month is a time when your company can come together and celebrate the incredible women you know and employ. If you’re looking for some fun and interactive ways to celebrate the women in your office this month, here are six ideas.
1. Celebrate Women on Social Media
One of the easiest ways to celebrate Women’s History Month is to celebrate women on your social media presence! Create a corporate social media strategy designed to highlight trailblazing women in your industry, as well as your own colleagues.
Here are a couple ideas to get you started:
- Interview women about what it’s like to work in your industry and create a blog post with their responses like this example from the Fond blog.
- Create shareable graphics with inspiring quotes from women in your office and from history.
- Craft a get-to-know you post for women in your company so your followers can get to know the women behind your company and how they contribute to organizational success!
- Run a daily social media takeover where a different woman in your office posts on your corporate social media accounts for the day.
- Share articles written by women or produced by companies run by women that are relevant to your audience.
You can also use Women’s History Month to get social with women in your industry! Challenge yourself to follow five different women on Twitter and LinkedIn every day. Forging these connections can help open your world view, sharpen your networking skills, and even strengthen your feeds on these channels.
This strategy is great because you can create all of these posts in advance and use a social media scheduling tool to send all of your social posts out for you during the month and ensure content is delivered consistently. This means you can spend less time sending out posts daily and more time interacting with your community about topics surrounding women’s history.
2. Buy a Coffee for a Woman that Inspires You
This idea is as simple as a trip to your local coffee shop. Reach out to three women you admire or want to know more about and offer to buy them coffee. Set about an hour aside to sit and chat with them about work, life, hurdles they’ve overcome, and anything else that might come up.
Not only will this show appreciation for the women in your life, it can also be a huge learning experience. Whether you’re looking for a mentor or just meeting with a peer, the more you can learn about the women who make your company great, the better!
3. Get Involved with Organizations that Support Women and Girls
Looking to take your support of women and girls global? Women’s History Month is a great chance to get involved with an organization that supports women and girls. Many of these organizations have corporate partnership programs that will work with your company to create a unique philanthropic opportunity.
Here’s a list of nonprofit organizations that support women and girls to help get you started:
- The Malala Fund
- The Sylvia Rivera Law Project
- Invisible Girl Project
- Girls Not Brides USA
- Global Fund for Women
- Girls Write Now
If you’re an organization that offers employer charitable donation matching, you should also consider creating international communications around these opportunities. Creating a Slack group where your team can throw out volunteer opportunities or fundraisers is a great way to keep this project going long after Women’s History Month ends. Although there’s one month dedicated, these efforts will make a bigger impact on your organization if you keep it up year-round.
4. Host Guest Speakers
The best way to celebrate Women’s History Month is to give women a platform. Inviting women in your industry to speak to your company is a huge opportunity. Whether you invite a single speaker to come talk to you about Women’s History Month or you host a panel of women in your industry, it’s a great chance to learn from some of the best!
Having trouble finding a female speaker to invite to your next event? There are plenty of resources online that make it easier than ever to find women speaking about a topic you need covered. You can also host a TedTalk viewing party in your office where you watch some of the best TedTalks given by women about women. Giving women a platform for their voices is important and can help promote diversity.
5. Start a Book Club
If you’re looking for something you can implement year round, consider starting a book club that places emphasis on female authors! Send out a survey to your team for book suggestions and participation interest. From there, you can assign your first book and meet once a month to discuss what you’ve read and how it impacts society.
Here are some books you can get started with:
Lean Out by Dawn Foster
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
- Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
- Feminism Is For Everybody by bell hooks
- Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution by Susan Stryker
- Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay
- Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde
- Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science by Rachel Swaby
- Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman
This strategy is great because it encourages conversations about women, diversity, intersectionality (discussed more below), and the challenges they present year round. It’s easy to put in the effort for one month each year, this shows you’re committed to doing the work even when it’s not Women’s History Month.
6. Make It Intersectional
The most important part of all of this is the focus on intersectionality. Gender diversity in the workplace is just the first piece of the puzzle. Women are connected by their experiences, but intersectionality asks to acknowledge the fact that all people, including cis women, nonbinary, and genderfluid individuals have different experiences and identities.
Additionally, race, sexual orientation, class, culture, ethnicity, and much more all affect how different women experience the world. It’s important to start a dialogue about these differences. Create an environment where women from different backgrounds can share their unique experiences without feeling judged. These experiences are critical to understanding how any business functions and can help not only create a better work environment at your company, but also a more inclusive and profitable product.
Here are a few ideas you can use to get started:
- Ask all of the women in your company how they’d like to celebrate Women’s History month.
- Read up on gender identity and get familiar with inclusive terms for your workplace.
- Understand that women have a different version of women’s history and different experiences as people, (i.e. white women were able to vote in the U.S. long before Women of Color). Be sure to keep those things in mind when creating messaging.
- Start a conversation about preferred pronouns, (not every person is comfortable with she/her pronouns or he/him pronouns).
- Identify and stop using gender-biased language in your meetings, job-postings, and day-to-day conversations.
- Encourage cis men to be part of the conversations about women, femmes, and women’s history.
This is probably the toughest suggestion on the list. Understanding intersectionality isn’t something that happens overnight. You will likely fail along the way, and that’s okay. Always listen and accept feedback openly, and be willing to empathize with women that have a different experience with Women’s History Month than you. Progress is sometimes slow and mistakes will be made, but these are important learning experiences that can help expand the reach of your business.
Make Women’s History a Priority Every Day
Celebrating Women’s History Month once a year is a good start, but we hope you’ll use these ideas to spark a larger conversation. Use these ideas to create the blueprint for a more inclusive environment. When your workforce is more accepting and diverse, everyone wins!
Lauren is an Editorial Team Lead at G2 with five years of content marketing experience. You can find her work featured on CNBC, Hubspot, Yahoo Finance, and on the G2 Learning Hub. In her free time, Lauren enjoys watching true crime shows and spending time in the Chicago karaoke scene.