International Women's Day

International Womens Day Josh Drake

Every year I look forward to #internationalwomensday. Why? I can scroll my timeline and see an entire feed full of women lifting one another up. I feel lucky to say that the majority of women I follow do this on a regular basis. But it has me thinking. What are the longterm affects of social advocacy campaigns like this one?

1. Increased Awareness

We now have access to more information on our smart phones, than entire nations possessed throughout history. While this is an amazing thing, it poses a problem. How much is too much? When we hear statistics on child brides and sex trafficking and rape, it is easy to become numb. Numbers are numbers and facts are facts, but rarely does a singular piece of information move someone to action.

Social advocacy days like #Internationalwomensday are important because it creates an opportunity for us to share stories. It gives a natural platform for nonprofits and NGOs working in the field to highlight women and turn those facts and figures into real stories that we can relate to. It creates a movement that in turn creates change.

2. International Attention

Every continent, country and community is different. But you know what I noticed about today? Regardless of the country, everyone was posting about #internationalwomensday. When I went to bed last night and scrolled my timeline, I saw friends in Australia posting about the day. When I woke up, my UK friends had several great Instastories explaining the day to their daughters. And tonight when I fall asleep, my California friends will still be using the hashtag.

Rarely does one hashtag garner so much attention and support. The fact that the international conversation is focused one thing - women's empowerment - gives momentum and greater meaning to this advocacy campaign. 

3. Inspired Action

Lastly, I don't want to forget the women who came before us who made such a campaign a possibility. I had a friend share on her timeline a sign from a few decades ago that warned society about "feminists" and allowing women to have "rights." What would that time have been like? I'm proud of the fact that I have daughters who are brave and courageous and adventurous. They are free spirits who will change the world because they know they are loved and supported in all they do.

But all women don't enjoy this privilege. So the advocacy campaign continues. When we can reflect on the progress made in our communities, it spurs us to take action for other women who still are denied basic human rights. 

Thank you to all the nonprofits working hard to bring equality throughout the world. Thank you to the women who are risking their lives to make their communities safer for their daughters. Thank you for the women of the past who refused to stay silent. Your sacrifices are appreciated and together we will create inspired action. 

Stefani Zimmerman Drake

Stefani is a strategy consultant + speaker with over a decade of experience working in the US government, international NGO space and with nonprofits. Currently on the UNDP's Roster of Communication Experts in Subsaharan Africa + certified in Google Analytics, Stefani is an analytical thinker and thoughtful storyteller who works with nonprofits + humanitarians to define who they are, elevate their influence and broaden their impact through strategic communications, branding + advocacy. Stefani lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, twin girls and rescue dog.