Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. This is a holiday I didn’t know existed until I moved to Brisbane, Australia for work. The company sponsored an event for the women to attend. We listened to speakers, ate delicious food, networked, socialized, and it was amazing!
When I returned to the US, on my first International Women’s Day back, a kind coworker gave me tulips. It made me feel appreciated and respected in the office and it meant a lot to me. I wonder if it’s worth noting or not that this coworker was not American…I feel like this holiday is not well known here in America as it is in other countries.
Since most of my audience is American, and may not be super familiar with International Women’s Day, I wanted to give you more information about this day, it’s mission and importance.
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.https://www.internationalwomensday.com/
International Women’s Day has a fantastic website with lots of information about their mission and goals. I recommend checking it out for yourself: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/
Every year they have a specific theme in which they want their supporters to take action on. This year the theme is “Each for Equal.” It is basically saying each one of us has the opportunity and power to make this world gender equal. Our individual actions can have an impact on the greater community.
I am doing my part in the #EachforEqual campaign to raise awareness and profiles of women in engineering. I’ve shared my personal engineering stories here on the blog, and also on Instagram, highlighting some of the challenges I faced being a women in a male dominated field. Many times, the bias was unintentional, but until our numbers are equal women will continue to face similar problems to what I faced in engineering.
One of the most difficult challenges in being a woman in engineering is balancing motherhood and career. Engineering can be a very demanding and time consuming job, and it doesn’t always allow a lot of flexibility to always be there for your children. It would be great if there were more opportunities for part-time or flexible work schedules, for moms who want a little more time at home, but want to continue to work.
I’ve interviewed 22 women engineers as part of my Women in Engineering Interview Series, and plan to continue to share more stories. One of the questions I have asked every interviewee is if they think women are treated equal to men in engineering. I have never had an interviewee answer yes.
If you haven’t yet read any of my interviews, I highly recommend you check out my Women in Engineering Interview Series page. And if you want to read more of my story, I highlight all the posts I’ve shared on the Contents page, and also they can be found by searching the tag Emily’s Story.
Another way I am working towards Each for Equal is sharing my STEM for Kids experiments and activities. I’m focusing on teaching both my kids about STEM, and never mentioning gender. These are activities that are designed to appeal to all kids, not just boys or girls. My kids don’t see STEM as only for boys, or only for girls, they are seeing it as fun activities we do together.
I enjoy teaching my kids about STEM and seeing them begin to love all STEM topics. I hope other parents use the STEAM experiments, books, and toys I share to help encourage their own daughters and sons to enjoy STEM. If all kids learn about and start to enjoy STEM from a young age, they will start to see these subjects as non-gender specific.
Have you heard of or celebrated International Women’s Day before? What will your contribution to “Each for Equal” be this year?