International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD). IWD celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, IWD is a national holiday. The them for 2010 is “equal rights, equal opportunities.” It’s a good day to recall the inspiration of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Excellent timing for congratulations to Kathryn Bigelow, who was the first woman to win an Oscar for directing in last night’s awards. In addition to the “best director” honor, her film “The Hurt Locker” took home the statuette for best picture as well. Another ceiling smashed!

Choose to honor IWD in a way that works for you today. Write a letter to your lawmakers supporting women’s issues. Check out momsrising.org, “where moms and people who love them go to change our world,” if political action appeals to you and you to focus your passion.

Work to change the life of an individual woman –right next door or worldwide. One of my mother’s favorite organizations is kiva.org, whose mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. Donations are loaned to entrepreneurs in third world countries, the majority of whom are women. Or support your favorite organization that empowers women with a donation of time or money today.

Honor a friend or loved one with special kudos about their accomplishments. Or maybe just honor your own achievements and reward yourself with an hour off today, toasting to women everywhere. Recoup a little energy to put back into battling the tide of your own life.

Never underestimate the influence you can have on another woman’s life, individually or collectively. Even if that woman is you.

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