Happy International Women’s Day – A quiet ride to celebrate.
I have just returned back from celebrating International Women’s Day 2017 (IWD). It is late now, just past midnight in fact, so technically it is the day after IWD. I’m late as I had spent the afternoon and evening going for a wonderful IWD ride. So before my IWD night officially ends, I thought I would put up a quick considerations to mark the occasion.
International Women’s Day Background
For those who don’t know, International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
International Women’s Day has a long history in the West dating back to 1909. In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly made the holiday globally recognized by inviting member states to declare March 8 a day for women’s rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment. Since then, the UN creates an annual theme for International Women’s Day. Today also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity and the theme for this year is Be Bold For Change.
This day is important for many reasons, but with the World Economic Forum prediction that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186, the struggles of many women in disadvantaged situations is more acute than ever.
Therefore, International Women’s Day (IWD) is an opportunity to raise positively contribute to
- celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women because visibility and awareness help drive positive change for women
- declare bold actions you’ll take as an individual or organization to help progress the gender agenda because purposeful action can accelerate gender parity across the world.
Two Awesome Historical Stories of Heroic Cycling Women
I got a real kick out of reading Peter Zheutlin’s article about his amazing great great-aunt Annie Cohen Kopchovsky’s ride way back in 1895 and the legacy that this event has had since in helping women to break boundaries – inspirational!
Another historical piece by fellow bike Blogger Nicola from Women Who Cycle offered some insightful comments when considering the impact and connections between bicycles and specifically American women (based on a Wisconsin stimulus).
IWD 2017 – Who, what and how?
IWD is not all about women – it is equally important that our brothers and the gorgeous men in our lives are also recognised! In fact some of the most staunch feminists I know are men.
There are many places to find out what is on this IWD. Some people offer ideas such as hosting your own events, for others who might want time alone or to be with friends, there are numerous suggestions on ways you can celebrate and share the day.
How are riders around the world celebrating International Women’s Day 2017?
For the cycling community, regardless of what gender you are – IWD guarantees a plethora of events, celebrations, awards and all kinds of reasons to get together for a ride – for example:
- There were celebrations and rides all over the world, although coverage of these reports varied in detail and depth for example Malaysia, India and the UK. There was also a massive march in New York City, which some friends of mine attended and said they saw a large cycling cohort represented – hooray!
- The Bike Pittsburgh’s Spinnsters were out for a social ride.
- More locally, the Bushrangers MTB Club celebrated more women registering in the club than ever before.
- It was a pity that after having such a great International Women’s Day Retrospective last year (2016) that Pink Bike did not follow up this year with an equally good article celebrating IWD 2017.
- And in the UK, Total Women’s Cycling was out promoting the Broken Spoke’s event with this little gem:
Quiet time to reflect and give thanks
Personally, I celebrated International Women’s Day 2017 in low-key style. This year I wanted to mark the day with simplicity, gratitude and in a way that acknowledged the ordinary and everyday.
Instead of going to a big event, I opted instead to take a solo ride along the coastline and have time to reflect. For me, this was a more honest and personal way to ruminate and commemorate on the processes of womens’ struggles.
As I rode, I thought about my life and the lives of others.
I thought about the current situation of fellow sisters throughout the world, the amazing progress the world has made and areas that still need improving. I thought about how I impact the world, and how I felt I was making a difference and where I though we needed more change.
I took time to stop and gave thanks.
I watched the bay and listened to the lapping of the waves. It was a stunning afternoon. The ocean breeze was cool and reassuring, the sunset spectacular and full of promise for the next day and I was very grateful to be alive and riding my bike.
What did you do to commemorate this day?
What ever it was – Happy International Women’s Day!