‘I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar’


Did you know that today is National Pi Day? Why? Because today is 3.14, the value of Pi, a mathematical concept and a number that never ends. Oh and by the way, it’s also International Fanny Pack Day and National Potato Chip Day. I’m not really sure who makes up these sometimes bizarre honorary days but let’s face it, now more than ever we need a little break from what’s happening in the world. And if like me you’re hungry for some positive news with a dose of inspiration mixed in look no further than last Sunday, March 8 which was International Women’s Day (IWD is also known as International Working Women’s Day.) Here’s a little history about how IWD started and what women around the world did to celebrate.

According to Wikipedia, after women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted by the feminist movement around 1967. Then in 1975, the United Nations began celebrating the day. Today, International Women's Day is celebrated globally and activities include everything from concerts and conferences to fun runs and festivals. Groups gather worldwide to raise awareness, celebrate achievement and rally for change to help forge a more gender-equal world and show their committment to being #EachforEqual.

The day even touts its own color. According to the National Woman's Party, a political organization formed in 1916 to fight for women's suffrage, “Purple is the color of loyalty, constancy to purpose, unswerving steadfastness to a cause. It's also the color of dignity and self-respect and signifies bipartisanship. It was also one of the three colors adopted by the suffragettes.”

Working 9 to 5

Employment-related search engine Indeed recently zeroed in on the roadblocks women face at work. Based on a survey of 1,442 women in the U.S., the company compiled a list of the most common barriers to women’s success in the workplace.

While most respondents said that managers have the power to make or break a job situation, minority women said that mentorship and sponsorships played a significant role in their advancement. Among Latina respondents, 50 percent said a mentorship contributed to their success and growth. Almost one in five black and LBTQ+ participants said sponsorship played a crucial role in their success.

According to Indeed, “Despite this progress, many women around the world still face significant challenges in the workplace. For example, according to a Spanish study, women are 30 percent less likely to be called for a job interview than a man, even when they have the exact same resume. Meanwhile, the gender pay gap in the U.S. actually widened between 2017 and 2018 (the most recent data available).

Here’s a look at how some working women, ranging from broadcasters to astronauts, celebrated International Women’s Day.

According to govtech.com, on IWD, the National Hockey League’s broadcasting team wanted to celebrate all the women who work hard to bring hockey games to the masses. So two of the league's games that night were broadcast entirely by female teams. One game was in the U.S., between the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks, and the other was in Canada between the Calgary Flames and the Vegas Golden Knights. From the truck to the booth, every person working on the broadcast was female.

Go to govtech.com to read the full story, How Did the NHL make history on International Women’s Day

This entry about Vanessa Williams honoring Maya Angelou is from The New York Times.

“Over her nearly 40-year career, Vanessa Williams has proved herself to be a master of reinvention. In 1983, she made history as the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America, and later that decade she became a chart-topping musician with multiple platinum albums and a slew of Grammy nominations. From there, she moved on to theater, television and film acting…It seems fitting for the latest installment of the video series “Read T a Poem,” which arrived two days ahead of International Women’s Day, Williams chose to honor a pioneering Renaissance woman of an earlier generation: the poet, author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. Though Angelou, born in St. Louis in 1928, was best known for her poems and memoirs, she was also a prolific screenwriter, cookbook author, actor, dancer, film director, composer, calypso singer and pop-cultural star. Though, above all, it is her poetry that endures.”

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, made a surprise visit on March 6 to a high school in Dagenham, East London, to speak about gender parity ahead of International Women’s Day. Her visit also marked the 50th anniversary of Britain’s Equal Pay Act, which sought to prevent discrimination against women in the workplace. Markle was joined on stage at the school by Geraldine Dear, one of the female workers at the Ford motor plant in Dagenham who went on strike for equal pay in 1968, and whose case helped trigger the legislation. Head over to Variety to read the full story.

Jessica Meir, the only woman currently in space, celebrated International Women’s Day with a video from the International Space Station. This description is from Space.com

“Floating in the Kibo module of the International Space Station in a dress and stockings that she wore in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 12 (alongside her colleagues, who wore an assortment of throwback looks for the anniversary), NASA astronaut Jessica Meir spoke in a video posted to Twitter on March 9 about why we need diverse perspectives to accomplish big goals in space exploration.

"It takes all sorts of people from diverse backgrounds to explore the unknown and to make things that are seemingly impossible, possible," said Meir, an astronaut on the three-person Expedition 62. "When we all work together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish."

Optical Weighs in on International Women’s Day

Many people throughout the optical industry weighed in about International Women’s Day on March 8. Here is a brief sampling of what they had to say on various social media channels.

Toronto’s Eyewear on the Go’s pink lady said it all on IWD—“Empowered women, Empower women.”
Image via Eyewear on the Go’s Instagram page.

Dr. Bridgitte Shen Lee asks “An equal world is an enabled world. How will you help forge a gender equal world?
Image via Dr. Bridgitte Shen Lee’s Twitter page.

l.a.Eyeworks’ founders Gai Gherardi and Barbara McReynolds raise their glasses to all the fierce eyewear sisters out there on International Women’s Day.
Image via l.a.Eyeworks’ Twitter Page.

Bella Vision Eyes in Spartanburg, S.C. joined others from around the world to celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness against bias.
Image via Bella Vision Eyes’ Instagram page.

Sue Downes of MyEyeDr. channeled Coco Chanel who said, "A woman should be two things: who and what she wants.”
Image via Sue Downes’ Instagram page.

The Optical Women’s Association echoed Serena Williams who said, “Every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another. We’re strongest when we cheer each other on.”
Image via the OWA Instagram page.

Elk Grove Optometry in Elk Grove, Calif., urged people to take a moment to celebrate the strong women in their lives.
Image via Elk Grove Optometry’s Instagram page.