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How your business can celebrate Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and it’s a golden opportunity for businesses to study, honor and celebrate those who have played an essential part in history. While we respect and admire the ambition and accomplishments of female leaders, Women’s History Month is a meaningful time to recognize and elevate women and shed light on their extraordinary impact.

What began as a week-long celebration organized by the Sonoma, California School District in 1978 has evolved into a month of reflection and reverence for the hard work and determination of extraordinary women throughout our country’s history. As everyone continues to strive toward equity and equality, Women’s History Month can shine a light on the past and present, inspiring both men and women to create a brighter future.

When your organization observes Women’s History Month, you can honor the achievements of women in history and empower your team members to work together with greater understanding. Here are four ideas to consider as you prepare to observe within your organization.

Highlight female leaders in your field.

The key purpose of Women’s History Month is to remember the achievements and challenges women have experienced while continuously working for their own rights and freedoms. One way to do this in your organization is to recognize those who have made a substantial impact in your field.

Through an email series, town hall meeting, company intranet, social media or other forms of presentation, you can teach your team members about the women on the forefront who helped your organization or your industry get to where it is today. These could be from your own company’s history, or they could be nationally or internationally recognized inventors or leaders.

For example, if your organization is in the auto industry, you might highlight windshield wiper pioneer Mary Anderson or racer and Autoweek founder Denise McCluggage. Is your organization in the tech sector? You may want to shed light on programming pioneer Grace Hopper or Ethernet guru Radia Perlman.

By bringing attention to women who have brought great progress to your industry, you can help your team members recognize the value of women from yesterday and today.

Offer opportunities for education.

Many professionals in your organization may be interested in learning more about how they can continue to support women today. A simple step to kickstart education — and spark a culture of ongoing growth — is to start a book club or email series. Consider polling your team members to see what they’re interested in learning and understand what kind of group they would enjoy joining.

Women’s History Month might also be an ideal time to host a relevant keynote speaker or a female panel. A community event like this for your employees or entire team has big potential to inspire your colleagues.

The opportunities for education around women’s equality and success are many. Opening these topics in your organization can create an environment of support and appreciation.

Become a champion of organizations that support women.

Many exceptional nonprofit organizations promote and empower women. What better time to connect with these organizations than during March? With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing many women and women-owned businesses into regression, this is an opportune time to consider corporate donations to local or national nonprofits that uplift women in difficult circumstances.

You don’t have to come up with a new solution to empower women when there are so many great organizations already moving forward with that mission. Consider partnering with one of these organizations and you’ll be honoring the women of the past by continuing their great work.

Spearhead conversations about empowering your own women.

How is your company doing when it comes to empowering the women within? In addition to thinking about the challenges, this occasion can spark conversations about how your organization supports the women in your workplace. A great place to start is evaluating internal policies and practices that frequently and negatively impact women. What changes could be made to better empower your own female team members? For example, could you reconsider your company’s approach to family leave?

Another intentional way to empower the women in your business is to connect them with local female networking groups and women’s leadership organizations or launch your own internally. Facilitating education and connection that will be supportive for their career path can be a fantastic way to help continue their track to success.

There are many ways to remember the impact of extraordinary women in the past and support them in your organization today. It’s really a win-win when you empower within your company, as organizations with female managers perform better financially. By implementing one or more of these ideas for Women’s History Month, you’ll help your team members recall the importance of the successful female leaders who came before and the legacy they can continue to bring forward.

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