Eight things you can do to make a difference on International Women’s Day

You can make a difference.
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International Women’s Day is held every year on March 8th and for anyone who thinks we don’t need it, think again.

Not only is it an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic women of the world and their achievements, but it’s also a day to bring attention to those barriers that continue to get in the way of gender equality and work to rectify them.

And yes, we’ve come a long way since the first IWD back in 1911, but one in three women have still experienced physical and/or sexual abuse, women make up just 23.8 per cent of parliaments across the world and despite the “myth”, there is still a gender pay gap in Australia.

So what can you, the average Aussie, do to make a difference? Turns out, quite a bit and most of these aren’t just limited to March 8th.

1. Donate to a cause that supports women

If you have the financial ability to do so, making a monetary contribution to an organisation that supports women can change a life and possibly a few lives.

There are so many great ones to choose from, but some of the great causes you can donate to include UN Women, which aims to empower and educate women around the world, Hey Sis, the Aboriginal Women’s Sexual Assault Network, 1 Million Women, an organisation to fight against climate change or Share The Dignity, where a donation of just $15 will provide a woman in need with enough pads and tampons for a month.

2. Volunteer your time

If you don’t have the funds to help out, use your time to help out women in need.

Visit a domestic violence shelter in your local area or join the Women’s Electoral Lobby to let your fellow ladies know that they have your support. Anything from being part of a protest to making a cup of tea and having a chat with a woman who has escaped violence could cause a ripple effect in the fight towards equality.

Yes we can! (Image: Getty Images)

3. Attend an International Women’s Day official event

IWD has become such a big event around the world that there are many small events popping up across the country that you can participate in.

From celebratory breakfasts to all-female panels for women in various professions, there are heaps to attend that you can check out on the official International Women’s Day website. All you have to do is select your city and go forth!

4. Read all about it

One of the best tools to help achieve gender equality is education. As Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai said, “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”

Take some time to read work by notable female writers like Maya Angelou, Roxane Gay, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Margaret Atwood and understand the different levels of work that need to be done from social to political to economic.

WATCH: Some of our favourite celebrity inspirational quotes in honour of International Women’s Day. Post continues…

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5. Talk to your loved ones about the day

International Women’s Day isn’t just a day to talk to the kickass women in your life, it’s something everyone should be celebrating regardless of gender, age, race or sexual orientation.

It doesn’t even have to be hard and fast political debate. Talk to the men in your life about why it is that women continue to do most of the cooking and cleaning around the house even if they work full-time or explain to your kids that boys can wear dresses if they want just as girls can wear trousers. Sometimes it’s just the little things that can make an impact.

6. Make a smart purchase

Yes, shopping can actually count for something!

A number of brands will be donating the profits from purchases made on March 8 (and even the entire month in some cases).

UN Women Australia is selling International Woman’s Day Merchandise on their website. The phone case brand Casetify is donating 10 per cent of every sale to the non-profit Equality Now, and Sephora is encouraging women to buy their female-founded brands.

Equal Tote Bag, $14.95, Un Women Australia.

(Image: Un Women Australia)

7. Write to your local MP

It’s easy to roll your eyes and say politicians don’t listen, but that simply isn’t true.

If you want to see change in your area, take some time to ask your local MP to help out and take action with their power and influence. You never know they could write back and actually do something.

You can also write to women in politics who have inspired you: think Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, or (even though she’s now retired) Julie Bishop.

READ MORE: Every time Julie Bishop proved she was the first lady of fashion.

8. Stand up against everyday inequality

This one can be done any day of the year. In fact it should definitely not just be limited to IWD.

Did you hear someone call a woman a ‘feminazi’ when she stood up for her beliefs? Call them out on that language.

Did a male colleague take credit for a female colleague’s work or idea? Praise her in front of your team.

Are a group of men harassing a young girl on public transport? Sit with her to show her she’s not alone.

Certain language and actions should not be tolerated and being brave enough to call it out could not only help someone in the moment, it can inspire someone to do even greater things.

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