How to Participate in International Women’s Day

On this day in the year 1857, female textile workers marched the streets of New York City to protest unfair working conditions. Since then, the day has evolved into a month-long international observation highlighting both milestones reached and the systemic barriers that we have yet to break down. 

This year, the UN’s International Women’s Day theme is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.” More so than ever, access to technology is power. It is the agent that gives us control over many aspects of our lives, including health care, finance, education, career, and more. The UN is making 4 calls that, in practice, can change the system to level the digital playing field. Take a look at the video below to learn more. 


Here are ways you can engage with the UN’s “DigitALL” International Women’s Day theme this year.

Get Involved in BU’s ARROWS
Women represent “only 28 percent of engineering graduates, 22 percent of artificial intelligence workers, and less than one third of tech sector employees globally,” according to UNWomen. STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics is major pathway for finding solutions to today’s problems. Without the influence of women in the field, the solutions come from a limited perspective. Boston University’s ARROWS is a program facilitating the success of BU’s women in STEM through networking and peer mentoring. You can get involved in any of the ARROWS Community Groups, such as BU Girls Who Code, to support BU women in STEM.  

Spread the Word, Perpetuate the Conversation
Simply talking about women’s equity is a great way to perpetuate the conversation and inspire other organizations to take up the cause. Microsoft’s #MakeWhat’sNext program features the future of STEM from the perspective of girls. They asked the girls what they wanted to change in the world and showed them how STEM is a vehicle to get there. After learning that only 6.7% of women graduate with STEM degrees, one of the girls said, “we need all hands on deck right now.” The campaign was featured in a collection of case studies in Marketing Makes a World of Difference.  

Create Tech that Meets the Needs of Women and Girls
As mentioned above, technological solutions reflect the needs of their creators. With a small percentage of women in technology, solutions fail to serve female needs. Furthermore, a study examining 133 AI systems from 1988 to today found 44.2% exhibited gender bias. Consider the needs of women when it comes to your academic projects, research and ideation. A great example of technology that serves the needs of women is an app called “A Safer Walk” that links lone female walkers helping to lower the risk of gender-based violence. Another example comes out of Peru. Despite laws that forbid women to make independent financial decisions, Mibanco is allowing women to take out loans independently. This case was also featured in Marketing Makes a World of Difference.  

Support Women-Owned Businesses
Just under half of all businesses in the US are women-owned. Visit and support women-owned small businesses in your area. Here in Boston, there are plenty to choose from. Questrom alum Shironda White (Questrom’18) opened Cupcake Therapy, a tree nut-free and peanut-free facility that bakes made-to-order cupcakes. Collettey’s Cookies at TD Garden is owned by Collette Divitto, born with Down Syndrome, who turned her passion for baking into a career. The bakery is not only female-owned, it also creates jobs for those with disabilities. Find more Boston Women-Owned businesses here.

Do not forget that International Women’s Day represents ALL women. While we all share the same equity goal, validating individual female experiences, beyond those of white ciswomen, is crucial to the gender equity fight. Boston University’s Queer Activist Collective offers a space to do just that.  


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