Organizations to highlight leaders, messages on International Women’s Day

From posting on Twitter to toasting women winemakers, organizations plan to celebrate March 8 in the era of #MeToo.

Crissy Bogusz—a designer and motion graphics artist for Vogue International—mentors through a program that pairs successful women with girls from underprivileged backgrounds

Bogusz—who has worked on projects such as “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Downton Abbey”—is working on Vogue’s collaborative video with high-profile women in the entertainment industry for International Women’s Day, March 8.

In the year of the #MeToo movement, the day is gaining significance as a communications opportunity. Long celebrated in the Eastern Bloc with gifts, office skits and a day off work, the holiday is gaining traction worldwide as an occasion to highlight the achievements of women.

Bogusz, who works on Vogue’s Snapchat team, has noticed more special articles, events and creative content on women’s day this year.

“At Vogue International we have been working on special content for it, and the response of high-profile involvement with that particular project has been incredible,” she says. “I would assume this is because women-related topics are being covered more readily in the media due to recent Hollywood scandals.”

Often the messaging takes a charitable angle, but it can be as simple as a hashtag campaign or highlighting successful women within one’s organization.

Messaging sisters abroad

Women for Women International—a charity that aids female survivors of war—is sponsoring a new website and Twitter campaign, #MessageToMySister. This enables women to write or tweet messages of support to women in places such as South Sudan, the Kurdistan region of Iraq and Democratic Republic of Congo.


The organization teaches business, vocational and health skills to women in countries, says Noorjahan Akbar, communications and external engagement officer. In Afghanistan, where cultural restrictions make it hard for women to leave the house, participants learn skills they can do at home, such as embroidery or tailoring.

In parts of Africa where there is more social mobility, women have been learning beekeeping, house-painting and animal husbandry, among other occupations. Program participants’ income typically triples by the time they graduate, Akbar says.

The organization is also hosting an event called “Stories of Courage” at a museum in Washington, D.C., to celebrate inspiring women around the world.

International Women’s Day helps people to collaborate and coordinate their activities, Akbar says. It’s especially important for her organization because its work is carried out across many countries.

“It’s one day women around the world that we serve are celebrating,” she says. “It’s a shared moment of celebration, which really doesn’t happen that often on a global scale.”

Toasting mother/daughter winemakers

Maraliz Campos works in a male-dominated industry—the world of wine and liquor—”but every morning I walk into a company full of women in leadership roles,” she says. Colangelo & Partners, the trade relations and PR firm where she works, plans to celebrate these leaders by uncorking bottles from female winemakers.

These include a mother/daughter winemaking team at Masciarelli and a female winemaker at Charles Krug, Campos says.

“This is a great way to support the empowerment of women in all areas, especially those where perhaps they’re not getting an equal playing field, such as the winemaking business,” Campos says.

The Dallas Women’s Foundation plans to use the day to release two studies on the economic status of women in Texas and, more specifically, in Collin, Dallas and Denton Counties. Among other things, the foundation discovered that Texas women will probably have to wait until 2049 for equal pay, says Juliette Coulter of The Coulter Group, which represents the foundation.

The foundation, which calls itself is the largest regional women’s fund in the world, advances social and economic change for women and girls and distributes $4.5 million annually to create opportunities for women and girls.

Abigail Pari’ Crowe, an INTUS Windows owner in Fairfax, Virginia, and freelance marketing, PR and event manager, is coordinating a presentation of “amazing feats by women” for her team to reflect on. Afterward, every woman can take a plant of her choice to enjoy on her desk, she says, adding that it’s an important day in a workplace that’s 90 percent women.

“The plants will be a constant reminder, versus flowers, which are very temporary,” she says. “The plant gifts are also in line with our environmental and office improvement goals, so it’s a triple win.”

Video about women leaders

Looking for an angle on the day? Even if you are a communicator who happens to be a male, you needn’t feel shy about marking the day. CCMC, a community association management company, produced a video for the occasion, says Adam Testa, content specialist in corporate communications.

The flick features short profiles of three of the company’s female leaders—the CFO, a division president, and a VP of corporate communications—”talking about their philosophy of leadership and the role of women in leadership in the corporate environment,” Testa says.

“I think it helps demonstrate the importance of these issues,” Testa says. “Women’s rights and women in leadership is at the forefront of discussion in today’s political and social environment.”

One British publisher is highlighting its women’s books in the lead-up to the international holiday.

Some things don’t change, apparently: Organizations are scheduling events outside of work hours, when women are more likely to have family responsibilities, one Australian editor complains. Don’t be like them.


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Topics: PR

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