“It makes me want to do something special for the women in my life, especially those I wouldn’t normally celebrate, like for a birthday.”
Madison is one of the many in our studio who reflects on the accomplishments of women in the world, but chooses to recognize Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day by focusing on the friends, acquaintances and co-workers around her. And she’s inclusive: “trans women are women too.”
The origin of Women’s History Month can be traced back to the late 1970s when a group of women in California organized a Women’s History Week. It was so successful that in 1987 Congress designated March as National Women’s History Month with the goal of bringing attention to the innumerable contributions women have made throughout the world despite countless obstacles.
And March 8th is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the women’s rights movement to bring attention to gender equality, reproductive rights and violence against women. IWD was spurred on by the suffrage and labor movements of the early 20th century with the first known observance in 1909 in New York City. Just 2 years later over a million people marched in demonstrations around the world to protest sex discrimination and demand the universal right for women to vote and hold public office.
So how do you want to celebrate Women’s History Month? One way is to follow Madison’s lead by surprising the women in your life with a gift or special lunch on International Women’s Day. Here are a few more!
1. Share quotes on social media
Post inspiring words from women who have had a positive impact on your life or made important contributions to your community. For inspiration, here are a few of our favorite quotes from women we admire.
2. Listen to a podcast about inspiring women
We are totally into podcasts, and What's Her Name about remarkable women is especially inspiring... like this episode telling the story of Judith Sargent Murray, the first American to publicly argue that men and women are equal.
3. Encourage your workplace to celebrate IWD
If you celebrate birthdays and other milestones at work, why not International Women's Day? It's a great opportunity to organize a lunch, invite a guest speaker, raise awareness and talk about women's accomplishments.
And if you need gifts, give us a shout! Every year large and small businesses ask Prosperity Candle to create unique International Women’s Day gifts for clients, speakers and employees. We can create custom designs with your logo, branding and message.
4. Support women-owned!
It often takes only a moment to figure out which local and online businesses are owned by women... many like to share this information on their website like we do. Whether you need coffee or a contractor, spend a few extra minutes to seek out the majority women-owned options in your area.
5. Have a party and make it an event
Host an event with friends to celebrate women around the world. Watch a movie about the women's suffrage movement (always inspiring, eye-opening and a bit infuriating). If you enjoy board games check out HerStory - a fun strategy game featuring 120 women from historical legends to modern favorites.
6. Add these 25 movies to your list
There are many "best of" lists out there... this is our favorite for greatest films directed by women. Be sure to post your opinions, share favorite scenes and encourage others to do the same.
7. Get the facts
Interested in women's history month facts? We are, too. You can search online for reliable resources, or go straight to this article by Women's Day. We also really like this timeline showing the history of International Women's Day.
8. Donate to support women and girls
There are so many nonprofits doing great work to empower women and girls around the world... some receive a lot of attention while others are challenged to fund programs. We have supported many over the years, though we hesitate to recommend specific organizations as this is a personal and sometimes local choice that depends on the issues you care most about.
The key is to make sure they are legitimate and well regarded, ideally with a high rating from Charity Navigator.
9. Give gifts handmade by women
Every year we receive inquiries about the best women's history month and International Women's Day gift ideas. We love it! Our women artisans get to pour beautiful candles and create custom gifts for businesses and nonprofits, and it helps fulfill our mission to support women artisans and refugees around the world.
Here are some of our suggestions for friends, family and colleagues. Each arrives gift boxed with a story card and your personal message. All can be found in our International Women's Day Collection:
Our She Inspires candles are a customer favorite. Each has a powerful word silkscreened onto the glass and is accompanied by a powerful quote on the paper cover.
If you're looking for more than a candle, this Inspire Her Gift Set is perfect... it includes the travel tin version of our She Inspires candle with the same powerful quotes, plus a set of pop-up cards to offer inspiration every day (and the best caramels ever!).
And for something fun, our Girl Power Gift Set includes a deck of playing cards that celebrate amazing women and girls from around the world. These are, to say the least, very very cool.
For a gift of encouragement, try our new Affirmation Candles that smell absolutely wonderful and remind us to be daring, be strong, and be unstoppable in all that we do.
For more gift ideas, check out the entire collection of candles and gifts for Women's History Month and International Women's Day. We'd also love to hear your suggestions for ways to celebrate women's history month with family - please share in the comments section below!
Finally, remember that Women’s History Month is not only about recognizing the past, but also about acknowledging the ongoing challenges of women today and together building a future that is brighter and more equitable for all.