International Women's Day-March 8, 2021: #ChooseToChallenge

by Rikki Quintana March 04, 2021

International Women's Day-March 8, 2021: #ChooseToChallenge


In this video, I wanted to tell you some of my own stories about how the pandemic has made me recognize previously invisible barriers and inequities that impact women. My own view of myself as a "post-feminist" woman has changed in this last year.

Many of you know that I'm a "recovering attorney." In the video, I share some of my own experiences as a woman attorney working at prestigious law firms. Only in retrospect can I see that real inequalities existed, even in this privileged arena. But they were just part of the "air we breathe," not something to be called out, questioned or challenged. 

Against this backdrop, this year's International Women's Day (IWD) has special meaning. And the 2021 theme, #ChooseToChallenge, is particularly appropriate.  I invite you to learn more about IWD and how you can participate and make our voices heard.

International Women's Day Purpose and History

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating women's social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equity. People come together worldwide to celebrate women's achievements and rally for women's equality.

Marked annually on March 8th, International Women's Day (IWD) is one of the most important days of the year to:

  • celebrate women's achievements
  • raise awareness about women's equality
  • lobby for accelerated gender parity
  • fundraise for female-focused charities

Although the Socialist Party founded international Women's Day in the US in 1909, it didn't gain much attention in the US until much more recently. The US failed to embrace IDW because of its association with socialism, and later anti-communism sentiment and Cold War politics.

However, IWD took off in Europe, beginning in 1910. It ultimately became an important holiday in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe following the Second World War.

IWD continued to be celebrated throughout the former Soviet Republics following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is still marked in Central Asia, though it has become an occasion for flowers and chocolates rather than social activism for most people in the region. 

For an interesting and oh-so-familiar account of societal views of women's rights on IWD 2020 in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, click here. You can also read more about the history of IWD here.

In recent years, Americans have finally begun to embrace IWD and it is now marked widely in many different ways.

2021 Theme: #ChooseToChallenge

The official international theme of IWD for 2021 is #ChoosetoChallenge. As the IWD Official Website explains:

"We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world."

The pandemic has brought the continuing inequity and barriers facing women in the US and around the world into stark view. The "invisible" reality has become visible, and it can't be ignored. We fervently hope that society as a whole will refuse to go back. 

It's up to all of us to contribute to that effort. That includes challenging gender bias and injustice wherever we see it, and celebrating the achievements of women despite the barriers.

So please join us in the Fair Trade Challenge. The easy instructions are set out below.

The IWD Fair Trade Challenge: Join Us!

The worldwide fair trade community is marking IWD this year by inviting all members and supporters of the fair trade movement to join the challenge. 

HoonArts is taking part in the challenge, and we hope you will too!




For more information and resources on IWD 2021 visit the World Fair Trade Website and the International Women's Day Website.

Rikki Quintana
Rikki Quintana


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