International Women’s Day: March 8

Mar 08, 2017


Diane Ramsey

Diane Ramsey is the Chief Executive Officer of Iowa Women Lead Change (IWLC). Under her stewardship, IWLC transitioned from a grassroots-driven once-a-year event to a statewide 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to advance women’s leadership development and excellence.

Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.” —Melissa Marchonna

Every year on March 8, many countries around the world join in to celebrate International Women’s Day. It is a day when women are recognized for their many different achievements, whether it’s economical, political, cultural or social. The first celebration can be dated back to 1909 where Charlotte Perkins Gilman addressed a crowd in New York City proclaiming, "It is true that a woman's duty is centered in her home and motherhood but home should mean the whole country and not be confined to three or four rooms of a city or a state." Today IWD is celebrated in more than 100 countries and is an official holiday in many parts of the world.

The times are changing. Iowa Women Lead Change (IWLC) knows this better than most. IWLC is dedicated to the development, advancement, and promotion of women, their organizations, and to impacting the greater Iowa economy. It is for women who want to grow as leaders in their companies, communities, and careers. It is for women who want to meet, learn from, network with, and be mentored by leaders who understand women’s unique challenges, gifts, and perspectives. Because of IWLC and other organizations committed to Iowa’s women and girls, the times are changing, and the statistics don’t lie.

  • As of 2015, the graduation rate in Iowa for women was 92.8%, while for men it was 88.8%.
  • Women hold 29.7% of Executive/Senior Level and 38.3% of First/Mid Level manager positions.
  • In Iowa, from 2002 to 2012 there’s been a 29% increase in women-owned firms.
  • The unemployment rate in Iowa for women between the ages 20 to 64 is down to 3.7%.
  • Women currently hold 17% of Congressional and Senate seats, when 95 years ago - they weren’t allowed to vote.
  • 14% of active members in the U.S. military today are women, compared to 1950 when it was less than 2%. 

Women have changed. They are choosing to chase the rapids. They are becoming the captain of their own ships. They are daring to dance with the waves. They are becoming the anchor that keeps everything else afloat. They are the navigators, bearing through the rough surf, rocking vessels, and ruthless storms, somehow still finding their way home.  Yes, men and women can play different roles but their rights are always the same. In many classrooms today, history books are dominated by male figures. However, women have played, and continue to play, significant roles throughout our world. On March 8, be a part of that history. Create change. Do change. Be change. Change the history books. We have all heard it’s a man’s world, but no one disputes it would be empty without a woman.

Be the captain of your own ship. Whether that’s a ship of bakers, doctors, stay at home moms, artists, writers, police officers, Marines, gardeners, engineers, mechanics, chefs, dentists, plumbers and teachers. If you want to be Cinderella and wear the glass slipper, then wear the glass slipper. But just remember, you can also slay the dragon.

This International Women’s Day, recognize the women you know who are working to make a difference for others, no matter in what arena.  Thank them for their efforts.

Yes, we are making progress, yet still have a long way to go.  Encourage those who are making a difference to continue on and cheer them along.  

As Atticus once said, “She wasn’t looking for a knight, she was looking for a sword.”