March 8 is International Women’s Day, a time to honor women and to #PressforProgress, this year’s theme.
Begun in the United States in 1909 — 11 years before women had the right to vote — and adopted two years later by the international community, it is a day to reflect on the progress made and the progress needed, as well as celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, doing extraordinary things.
Women like Malala, who wanted to read, Rosa Parks, who wanted to sit, Amelia Earhart who wanted to touch the sky, Frida Kahlo who wanted to create art and change the world, and Katherine Johnson, who loved numbers and big challenges.
United National Secretary-General António Guterres said “Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.” He also said “The central question of gender equality is a question of power.”
There are several events in Utah to honor International Women’s Day. Provo is hosting its third annual women’s day. Mayor Michelle Kaufusi is hosting a free breakfast at 9 a.m. and will be the kick-off speaker for the day’s lecture series. Girls Summit, a career exploration fair for girls ages 8-12, is also occurring from 6-8 p.m. The professions run the gamut from a military linguist to math teacher to geologist, to digital marketing manager to 3D animator and more.
Utah Valley University is hosting a panel with speakers focusing on “Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives” from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Their speaker’s line-up is impressive: Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte, former senior information officer at the UN department of public information, Miloš Vukašinović, permanent representative and ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the U.N., Celina Milner, women’s advocate and government liaison, and Shirlee Silversmith, the director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs. It should be a really interesting discussion.
At the Utah Capitol, KRCL 90.9FM is hosting “Amplifying Women’s Voices” from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., also with an impressive and varied line-up of speakers. Those speakers include Catherine Weller, from the League of Women Voters, representatives from Better Days 2020, the Utah Women of Color Council, the Global Chamber in Salt Lake City, Utah Diné Bikéyah and more. The music will be provided by Lucius.
momni.com is hosting 12 hours worth of women presenters on Zoom and Facebook live. Each of the 24 speakers will have 30 minutes to share and answer questions. Topics include motherhood and families, the power of diversity, loving yourself, the Utah refugee connection, why women entrepreneurs need each other and more. I will be speaking at 7:30 pm on finding your calling and pursuing your purpose without losing yourself.
Finally, while not Utah specific, I applaud Mattel for releasing a line of Inspiring Women and Sheroes. The first three, released on Tuesday, are Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart and Katherine Johnson. Frida is a Mexican artist, activist and icon. Amelia is the first female aviator to ever fly across the Atlantic Ocean and Katherine Johnson is a brilliant mathematician who calculated the trajectory of NASA’s first manned flight into space. Other women in the series include snowboarding champion Chloe Kim, boxing champion Nicola Adams Obe, fencing champion Ibtihaj Muhammad, conservationist Bindi Irwin and Patty Jenkins, the director of “Wonder Woman.”
Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. (Author unknown.)
Holly Richardson, a Salt Lake Tribune columnist, recognizes the irony of a nation and world celebrating women and wanting to #PressforProgress, and a Utah Legislature trying to find a way to honor a man being sued by a porn star over their illicit affair.