Since 1909, people worldwide have celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) with demonstrations and parades honoring feminist trailblazers.
On March 8, International Women’s Day 2022 will continue this tradition of looking forward to a future of gender equality. The official campaign this year is Break the Bias, and the United Nations panel theme is Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.
History of International Women’s Day
IWD took shape after the 1908 women’s suffrage parade in New York City. Led by Maud Malone, an estimated 15,000 people marched through the city streets demanding voting rights for women, better working conditions, and an end to widespread oppression.
The march spurred other grassroots women’s movements to hold similar parades the following year. And as a result, U.S. organizations celebrated the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) in February 1909.
Meanwhile, the 1910 International Conference of Working Women hosted representatives of women’s unions, clubs, and political activist groups from 17 European countries. The attendees approved a proposal to celebrate Women’s Day internationally, eventually choosing the March 8 date in 1914.
The United Nations officially began observing IWD in 1975 and has helped women’s rights organizations gain more visibility around the world.
How to support International Women’s Day 2022
Change-makers of all ages and genders will gather to discuss women leading the charge to create healthy, sustainable futures through climate change and disaster prevention activism. This year, the panel plans to address gender equality through the lens of economic, social, and environmental change.
International Women’s Day is so much more than just a celebration, though. It’s also an opportunity to get involved in the fight for equality and tackle the unfinished business of empowering women and girls worldwide. You can help women by supporting vital organizations that advocate for their rights and wellbeing.
Check out our fem-tastic flowchart for ideas about which organizations to support.
Which organization should you donate to on International Women’s Day?
How to donate
There are countless ways to help out on International Women’s Day and beyond. First and foremost, you can donate funds or devote personal time through volunteering. Do you own a business or have professional expertise to offer? IWD also partners with companies that provide employment and advancement opportunities to women. For now, you can get started by learning about the charities we’ve showcased below.
Education is a crucial tool for fighting gender inequality. Thankfully, this organization invests in literacy education for nearly one million children in low-income countries globally. Room to Read helps young women complete secondary school with the skills needed to succeed beyond the classroom.
CARE is committed to providing marginalized children with access to quality education. The organization works to assess the needs of girls in at-risk and conflict-affected settings to produce the best learning outcomes.
EGG is all about empowering girls to dream bigger and overcome environmental limitations. The organization has helped nearly 690,000 children gain education and develop the leadership skills to advocate for others.
Human rights organizations
Summing up the accomplishments of the Global Fund for Women is no easy task — but we’ll try. They find and fund groups that work with the world’s most marginalized and at-risk women in 175 countries. In fact, the organization is the leading funder of female-centric social justice organizations worldwide.
Working across 60 countries, this group is fighting to end the practice of child marriage. The organization also combats other socio-cultural threats to girls’ rights, health, empowerment, and education.
OutRight works at international, regional, and national levels to research, document, defend, and advance human rights for LGBTQ+ people around the world.
Economic empowerment organizations
Are you committed to helping women gain economic independence? Women on Wings partners with businesses to create one million jobs for women living in rural India.
Supporting women-owned businesses is an important step on the path to gender equality. WGEF promotes small-scale entrepreneurship by extending credit to women who normally wouldn’t have access to traditional banking and lending institutions.
Health and wellness organizations
Lack of mental health treatment is a major issue in marginalized communities and a source of intergenerational trauma. Based in Africa, StrongMinds treats depression in women through intervention and group psychotherapy programs.
Gavi is an organization that works with countries to address gender-related barriers to immunization programs. A key priority is ensuring all boys and girls have equal access to vaccines.
Working across nearly 20 countries, this group helps women in the world’s poorest communities take control of their personal and reproductive well-being. Engender Health focuses on issues such as family planning, maternal health, HIV and AIDS prevention, gender equality, and more.
Lack of access to adequate healthcare forces many people to live with relatively easy conditions to treat. To overcome this gap, the organization provides high-quality fistula repair surgery in areas with the greatest need for treatment.
Educating girls on reproductive health and women’s hygiene is essential for serving their long-term health needs. Days for Girls is active in 144 countries, improving access to menstrual care and education in communities across the globe.
Arts and culture activism
Representation matters. That’s why Guerrilla Girls is dedicated to creating art that depicts the many facets of womanhood. The organization is an anonymous group of feminist female artists devoted to fighting sexism and racism within the art world.
Women in Music is a non-profit working to advance awareness, diversity, opportunities, and equality in the musical arts. The group recognizes talented female musicians and uses art, heritage, and cultural expressions to support and empower women.
Our flowchart offers just a small sampling of the incredible organizations dedicated to advancing the rights of women. For more info on how to get involved, visit the IWD website for a list of events, partners, resources, and featured charities.
This post was originally published on March 8, 2020, and updated most recently on March 2, 2022.