“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights” – Gloria Steinem

Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day; a day that was birthed from a need for change and equality that women still fight for to this day. It all started in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York City, demanding better pay, shorter hours, and voting rights. The very next year, on February 28, 1909, the first National Women’s Day was created by the Socialist Party of America and in 1913, March 8th was declared International Women’s Day – from then on, “it’s history”.

Throughout the years, women have battled against sexism, for equal pay, the right to vote — things that a lot of us may take for granted in this day and age. The fight isn’t over though, there are still countries where women are oppressed just for being born a woman. Even in the United States, up until the recent health care reform, insurance companies could discriminate against women because being a woman was considered a “pre-existing condition”!

You don’t have to be a woman to appreciate all of the changes that have occurred over the past 100 years though, both men and women can take part in celebrating the fight for equality. Here are some ways that you can celebrate this day:

1. Research the day: Take a moment out of your day to look up the story of women’s fight for equality and learn about the struggles we women have worked so hard to overcome. Also, share it with your friends and family and discuss how proud you are be able to reap the benefits for the courage of those before you.

2. Support a cause: Find and organization that is for equal rights and help take part in helping with their cause. You can also find local organizations in your area that put on events that spread the word and educate others on equal rights.

3. Walk over a bridge: Women for Women International is a non-profit organization that set up events on this day in which people take part in walking over a bridge “holding banners calling for peace and asking for support for women in war-torn countries.”

4. Have your own celebration: Get your friends together and throw a celebration of equality and the courage women have shown throughout history to stand up and fight for their human rights.

5. Recognize women in your own life: Take a minute to thank the strong female figures that have been apart of your life and helped shape who you are today.

Today is a day to celebrate how far women have come and recognize all of the accomplishments along the way, so, give thanks and find out ways you can help continue fighting for equality.

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