Keystone celebrates International Women's Day 2021

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Ashley Murphy
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IWD 2021 LinkedIn & FB Did you know?

Every March is Women's History month, and one of its biggest events is International Women's Day on March 8th. This global event celebrates women's social, cultural, economic, and political achievements.

In 2021, we decided to celebrate this day virtually with our team by raising funds for a charity that is closely tied to our mission of helping students make one of the most important decisions of their lifetimes — finding the right university program!

This year's International Women's Day had a very special theme: "Choose To Challenge".  The Choose to Challenge approach aims to help individuals make better decisions and build that better world, with an emphasis on gender bias and inequality. It focuses on the challenge of responsibility for our thoughts, actions, who we want to be, and the world we want to create in terms of gender bias and inequality.

In 2021, those participating in International Women's Day were invited to demonstrate  solidarity by striking the Choose to Challenge pose and posting the picture on social media. The Choose to Challenge pose is simple:  raise your right hand to show you’re ready to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and forge an inclusive world.

Instagram TestsKeystone demonstrated its support by asking team members to strike the Choose to Challenge pose, and share some of their thoughts on this year's theme. Annika, one of our student recruiters said, "to help forge a gender-equal world, I will take action for equality." Fabio from our operations department echoed Anika's thoughts, saying "achieving gender equality is everyone's responsibility." Bastienne looks forward to a world where gender stereotypes are a thing of the past, and quotes one of her favorite leaders, Sheryl Sandberg who said "In the future, there will be no female leaders. Just leaders!"

Furthermore, Keystone decided to raise money for the Malala Fund, a global foundation that provides free, safe, and high-quality education to girls from developing countries. We matched all funds donated by staff throughout the fundraiser, doubling the amount of money for this important organization. 

The funds will go toward creating and supporting education networks in Afghanistan, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey. The Malala Fund programs include workshops on challenging the social norms that can limit a young woman’s potential, and a new digital newsletter called The Assembly. The Assembly is a digital platform that puts young women’s voices front and center, addressing the issues that are important to them. 

Malala's Education Champions are currently working in Ethiopia to ensure girls can return to school safely following the outbreak of COVID-19. They're also helping local politicians and teachers create plans that will strengthen Ethiopia's education system against future issues that may disrupt schools, making it easier for girls to access a better future. Rotimi Olawale, an education champion working in Nigeria, said "Every day we take small but important steps to break down barriers for girls. And with the support we receive from the Malala Fund Education Network, our steps are becoming giant strides."You can learn more about the Malala Fund at malala.org.

About International Women's Day

International Women's Day focuses on three key areas: 

Lobbying for accelerated gender parity
Fundraising for women-focused non-profits that support education and health programs in developing countries. 
Raising awareness about women's equality

Together, these values can create a world where women have equal opportunity, putting them in charge of their own destinies. Because that's what real freedom feels like. These key areas focus on continuing to facilitate much needed change to continue pushing forward to achieve the goal of gender equality. 

However, there’s still a lot of work ahead. According to a recent report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), it's unlikely we will see see gender pay parity. In fact, it could take another one hundred years before we see equal pay for men and women globally. The size of the task shouldn't deter us. 

Instead, we should feel inspired by the work ahead, which should focus on empowering women. This can only be achieved by working together and understanding one woman's success is every woman’s success. Gloria Steinem, the world-renowned feminist and journalist, put it best when she said, "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single person, nor to any one organization, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights." 

On International Women's Day, how do you #ChooseToChallenge and help create a more equal world for all genders?

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