International Women’s Day: An Important Day Around the World

FINCA client holds her child.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated globally on March 8th every year. The day is not only dedicated to celebrating women and all they have achieved, but it is also a call to action to accelerate equality worldwide.

The origins of this day can be traced back to 1908 when a group of 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding more rights, including better pay, shorter hours, and voting rights. This led the US to adopt National Women’s Day in 1909. By 1911, International Women’s Day was officially agreed upon for the first time at a conference in Copenhagen, and more than 1 million women and men attended rallies across Europe in support of women’s rights. However, it was not until 1975 that the United Nations officially acknowledged International Women’s Day. Since then, the day has grown and adapted with the times, and it has transformed into what we know today. IWD is now celebrated worldwide with countless online events and viral campaigns honoring women and reminding us of the work we still need to do.

How FINCA Promotes Women’s Equality

Though IWD is an important day to recognize achievements and continue inspiring change, we at FINCA promote women’s empowerment and equality every day through our work. FINCA’s founders recognized the importance of empowering women within our mission to end poverty and wove that into FINCA’s DNA. FINCA co-founder John Hatch stated:

It has been proven time after time that increasing the incomes of poor mothers results in an almost immediate improvement in their children’s diet, and an increased likelihood that they can send their children to school. And when a child is educated, he or she has better opportunities to live outside of poverty.

Understanding that women are disproportionately affected by poverty, women’s empowerment has and always will be one of FINCA’s core commitments. We are dedicated to providing women with equal access to financial services, as well as other life-changing products and resources. We also design products specifically for women, and we conduct rigorous research to ensure they are effective.

FINCA clients stand outside the branch office in Bweyale, Uganda.
FINCA clients stand outside the Bweyale branch office in Uganda.

How You Can Support International Women’s Day

Though much progress has been made over the 100+ years since IWD began, there is still more that is needed. According to the World Economic Forum, it will take 132 years to reach full gender parity at the current rate of progress. While this may sound discouraging, we look at this as a call to action to increase awareness and spur action. Below is a list of actions you can take to mark IWD on March 8, or to support women any day of the year:

  • Sign a petition supporting women’s issues to let lawmakers know that you stand with women
  • Search for, promote, and attend IWD and/or gender parity events near you or online
  • Speak up on social media to spread awareness to friends and family within your own network
  • Seek out and get involved with an organization like FINCA that is dedicated to women’s empowerment and equality

We at FINCA hope that you are inspired to support women by one or more of the ways listed above. Only by working together, spreading awareness, and taking action can we improve the rate of progress and hope to see full gender parity within our lifetime.