In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday. The first IWD was observed on March 19th, 1911 in Germany. It was moved to March 8th in 1913. The idea of having an international women’s day was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion.
In the U.S., they commemorate the day by designating the whole month of March to women’s history. Obama said, “To win the future, we must equip the young women of today with the knowledge, skills, and equal access to reach for the promise of tomorrow”.
Working closely with international women, Cultural Care Au Pair brings young women from all over the world to the U.S. to live with American families on a child care and cultural exchange program.
“It is fascinating to talk to the au pairs about the advancement of women in their cultures. Au pairs from China, Thailand and South Africa have very different stories from au pairs from Germany, Austria and Switzerland where International Women’s Day events were first celebrated,” says Jennifer Mintzer, Director of the Au Pair Training School on Long Island.
Mintzer works with thousands of au pairs, age 18-26. “These are amazing young women from more than 20 countries around the world. Their year living with an American family and learning about our culture literally changes their lives. They have dreams of returning home better prepared to advance their careers, become leaders in their communities and do their share as world citizens.”
In addition to living as a member of a host family, the au pairs take classes at local colleges and attend monthly meetings where they have a chance to interact with other young women from around the world also living in their community. Au pairs help advance women in the U.S. by assisting working mothers who have chosen to introduce another culture to their children though the au pair program, helping them balance work and family obligations while sharing their own customs and traditions.
In recognition of International Women’s Day, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. Cultural Care offers 10 ways you can celebrate International Women’s Day locally:
- Attend an event promoting women’s health, equality or safety
- Make a donation to an organization that provides education for girls
- Visit your local library and check out a book on women’s history
- Register to vote
- Go to see an exhibit or performance of a woman artist
- Support a program that provides business training for women in developing nations
- Ask a woman from another country about women’s challenges, prospects and achievements in her home nation
- Mentor a young woman
- Recognize women you know who are making a difference in the lives of their children, their peers, their students, or their community
- Thank a woman who has had a positive influence in your life.