It’s the eve of International Women’s Day (IWD). You’ve got your playlist ready, and you’ve been inspired by the career advice you’ve read by the women leaders we’ve featured. Now, how would you be commemorating this special day?
We’ve compiled a list of simple yet meaningful activities that you can organise to celebrate women employees at the office - be it just on IWD tomorrow, or for the week and month ahead.
Send them a 'thank you' note
First and foremost, a 'thank you' sets the tone for your celebration of this day. This can be in a form of a card, a shout out, or a thoughtfully-crafted email, as we’ve previously shared.
Hold your company's version of this year’s #BalanceforBetter campaign
According to IWD’s official website, this year’s IWD theme, #BalanceforBetter, runs through a year-long campaign to advocate balance that will “drive a better working world”. There is focus on creating gender balance, for instance in the boardroom and in wealth.
As part of the campaign, IWD has provided #BalanceforBetter selfie cards (examples below), to promote action via social media channels. To show your organisation’s support, get your employees to download these cards, then write notes on how they will play their part to advocate for gender balance, and pose!
It’s a great way to get them thinking and to bring forth the true urgency for greater balance in the workforce.
Recognise women employees as role models
Monthly and annual awards, whether big or small, are common. Why not have one specially to commemorate IWD too?
Let your staff share stories of how their women colleagues have inspired them in different ways or made a valuable contribution to them personally or through their work.
You could even put up some of the testimonials on the organisation’s social media channels, as a way to highlight these champions, and of course build your employer brand.
Allow employees to inspire and get inspired
Give employees a platform to share stories about the women in their lives who have been their pillars of strengths and inspirational figures.
This can be done through an end-of-day office gathering on IWD itself, or in an impromptu office party to celebrate the day. Bonus that it’s a Friday!
It is a meaningful, thought-provoking way to get employees reflecting on the roles women play in their lives, while allowing everyone to bond through their sharing.
Organise an office game session
Well-planned games can get staff in the mood to participate and gives everyone a chance to let their hair down and bond away from their desks. In this case, playing IWD-themed games will add a twist. We've got some suggestions:
In this game, gather everyone around and request them to fill up five random facts/cheat sheets about themselves that no one knows, and jumble them all up.
Everyone gets to take turns guessing who the facts belong. This game reinforces the importance of not stereotyping women and men based on what you perceive them to be, or by associating them to certain characteristics.
Of course, it also allows them to get to know these colleagues a little better.
“Which woman advocate said that?”
Everyone has heard of Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai, but when it comes to recognising what either of them has said in their countless inspirational speeches, that's a bit harder.
It will be fun to quiz employees on certain speeches or quotes, and get them to answer which woman speaker said that. It is a go-to game to deepen their understanding of the women issues frequently talked about, as well as to be inspired by these women who are spreading awareness. It will reiterate the true meaning of International Women’s Day.
Host health talks or donate to a cause
International Women's Day can be celebrated beyond the activities above. It can be used as an avenue to raise awareness about health issues that all employees at work face, and to help a cause.
For example, host a health talk on nutrition, as well as weight loss and myths surrounding it - with many of us constantly struggling with whether our body images conforms to societal norms.
There is a need for all your employees to know how important mental and physical health is, and why it goes before the conventional definitions of beauty, and you as an employer can take that little step to help them by organising such talks.
Additionally, make the most of this special day by celebrating a step further - encourage employees to donate to a cause for women's right, or donate blood in a donation drive.