Believe it or not, International Women's Day has been around since the turn of the 20th century. The first Women's Day was originally held in the midst of the women's rights movement on February 28, 1909, in the United States, with the goal of promoting female equality. The movement has spread worldwide over the past century and is an official holiday in over a dozen countries and celebrated in many more on March 8th each year.
Honor the influential and fearless females who make a difference in our world by giving to charities that benefit women this International Women's Day.
1. International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee has been providing aid to people in need since the end of 1933, and in 1989 affiliated with the Women's Refugee Commission, which strives to improve the lives of refugees and displaced women across the globe. The IRC's communications director, Melissa Winkler, spreads awareness about those in need and documents work done by the committee on its Voices from the Field blog — from improving health clinics that treat rape victims in the Congo to building latrines and bathing stations to better health conditions in the wake of Haiti's catastrophic earthquake earlier this year. You can find out more about the International Rescue Committee and what you can do to help with its efforts on the official IRC Website.
The V-Day most of us think of takes place in February but this V-Day doesn't take place just once a year; it's a "global movement to stop violence against women and girls" that takes place every single day of the year. Founder Eve Ensler — better known as the author of The Vagina Monologues — was motivated by the live performances of her play and started a campaign to stop violence, spanning from rape to female genital mutilation, against women and girls. Chosen as one of our 10 Best Charities, the nonprofit corporation hosts performances, fundraisers, and various events to raise money to end violence against women. With 10 years under its belt, V-Day has reached over 130 countries and raised over $70 million for its cause.
3. Women's Funding Network
One of the largest philanthropic groups in the world, the Women's Funding Network was started by Gloria Steinem and her fellow editors at Ms. Magazine and provides assistance to over 155 organizations investing in women and girls. The organizations benefiting from the $500 million invested over the last two decades provide support in areas like women's poverty, health, and education — just to name a few. The network depends on monetary donations to support its various recipients but also encourages activism that you can do for free, such as writing your local representative so women have access to higher-paying jobs, and donating your old cell phone to survivors of domestic violence so they have access to 911. Visit the WFN Website to find out more about the groups that are aided by the network.
For more charities that are making an impact in a big way, check out our picks for the 10 Best Charities.