According to the United Nations, “International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”

Globally, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a pretty big deal. Many countries observe the day with special traditions and celebrations, some even declaring it a national holiday.

However, in the US, observance of International Women’s Day has been … let’s call it “modest.” While most consider the US fairly progressive in terms of women’s rights and equality, the truth is gender equity is actually losing ground in the States, and there’s more reason than ever for the US to recognize IWD and its mission.

Two Washington women are working to make IWD a much bigger deal in Seattle: in 2016, they convened a gathering of about 80 women. This year, International Women’s Day Seattle has already outgrown one home, and the event is still a week away.

Team genneve is planning to attend (and volunteer, so look for us!), and we hope you’ll join us. We’re even more excited about the event after having the chance to sit down with organizers Kate Isler and Nickie Smith and talk about why International Women’s Day is important and why the work of feminists and feminism isn’t done.

International Women’s Day Seattle event details:

 

IWD SeattleKate Isler brings over 20 years of international executive leadership to Daysaver Inc. Since coming on board as CEO, Kate has reshaped the company vision and business model, and with this new approach, successfully secured the first round of significant seed funding. Kate is now focused on guiding product development as well as strategy and execution of the business plan.

Kate has always been a passionate advocate of gender parity and women’s issues. She is a mentor and speaker and has lived and worked all over the world, giving her a unique, first-hand perspective on the power educating and supporting women has on their families and communities. Kate is a strong believer in the concept of “You can’t be what you can’t see,” and she brings this philosophy to mentees, both men and women, by building awareness of and engagement with successful women in technology.

In addition to mentoring and co-organizing Seattle’s International Women’s Day, Kate serves on the board of Many Lights Foundation, an organization with a mission of building an inter-generational community to support foster and adoptive families.

International Women's Day

 

Nickie Smith is a long-time advocate and champion of women’s rights and equality.  She has spent over 20 years of her career in the digital advertising industry leading and partnering with other women to create networking groups, programs and events both inside Microsoft and in the ad industry in the UK, US and worldwide. She is also a mentor and coach to many young women across the globe. Nickie believes that it is vital for women to be a role model for other women, to look left and right to support other women and to look down and pull other women up. She frequently celebrated International Women’s Day while in the UK and, disappointed that Seattle had no such events, when she relocated to Seattle more than 3 years ago, she got to work with her friend Kate Isler and put on an event for International Women’s Day 2016.  Energized by their success last year, they are now working with a collective of amazing local women, who share their passion, to host International Women’s Day Seattle 2017.

Our conversation:

1:22
Kate and Nickie fill us in on the history of this day dedicated to women and how it’s celebrated globally. IWD is more than a hundred years old, with roots that go all the way to the Suffragette movement.

4:20
What countries participate in IWD? You may be surprised at how far-reaching this movement is. Kate offers her theory on why IWD hasn’t yet caught on in the US but why it’s more important than ever to bring issues of gender parity to the surface.

6:30
Nickie and Kate’s experiences with IWD began in Europe. We asked them why the day made such a profound impression on them that they felt it was important to bring it to Seattle.

8:20
The United Nations (UN) is one of the main supports for International Women’s Day. We wanted to know more about the organization’s involvement and how it operates as the focal point to bring together an incredibly diverse, global community.

10:00
IWD has a theme every year, intended to be a “call to action,” as Nickie told us. Focal point and rallying cry, the theme is a powerful statement at a time when women’s issues are daily headlines. Nickie and Kate fill us in on this year’s theme of “Be bold for change.”

11:30
So, we’re sold. What’s happening here in Seattle? Our organizers gave us a peek into their thinking on how to inspire local action and activism and the amazing event they have lined up to set the wheels in motion.

13:20
Kate and Nickie have invited an amazing panel of women to speak at the local IWD event. Find out who’s coming, then buy your ticket, because seats are going fast!

15:20
“Feminism” is a pretty loaded word these days, but our guests feel it’s important to understand and embrace feminism and learn the history and mission of the feminist movement. Hear about the UN estimates on when we reach gender parity (hint: it ain’t soon) and how women can work together to bring change faster.

“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

16:26
We hear the word “parity” a lot, but what exactly does that mean and why is it an important measure of progress on issues of gender?

17:54
We asked our organizers, who is your audience, who are you trying to reach? They let us know who we must have on board to make true progress toward equality.

18:43
For those unable to attend the event here in Seattle, what are their options for celebrating this very important day? You can find lots of information on the UN site, and you can type in your country and city here for information on what to do where you are.

For those interested in the Seattle events, find more information on the International Women’s Day Seattle Facebook page. There’s also a link to Eventbrite to purchase tickets.

19:35
Final thoughts to share? Come to the event at Seattle Town Hall if you can! Bring everyone you can get a hold of. There will be great food and wine and amazing women to get to know. If you can’t attend, you can still find ways to support the amazing women in your community and life.

Thanks to Kate and Nickie for taking the time to educate us on International Women’s Day and for their work bringing this event to Seattle. We’ll see you there!


Shannon Perry

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